Alice Corbin Henderson



Contemporary Poetry and the Universities


Literatur: Henderson
Literatur: Poetry

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Texte zur Baudelaire-Rezeption
Texte zur Verlaine-Rezeption
Texte zur Mallarmé-Rezeption
Texte zur Theorie und Rezeption des Symbolismus


I HAVE had occasion lately to speak with several university professors of literature on the subject of contemporary poetry. In each case I have surprised a look of polite inquiry whenever any poet of a date more recent than 1890 was mentioned. Of course there were exceptions that proved the rule. Mr. Alfred Noyes and Mr. W. B. Yeats have lectured before American colleges; Mr. Masefield's fame has reached the classic walls. But these are the exceptions. My surprise was perhaps the greatest when I encountered the head of a certain Romance department, expecting from him some illumination on the subject of modern French poetry. If he were living in France, would his interest have stopped short with the French symbolists? Would he have come, as it were, to the brink of a precipice with Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Mallarmé, and consider himself, even at that, as the most ultra-modern of his kind?

Why is it that the college literary courses establish no direct contact with modern life in so far as poetry is concerned? The novel fares better. The student who is fortunate enough to have attended lectures by Mr. Robert Herrick does not venture out into the world supposing that the novel stopped suddenly with Thackeray or Dickens. But the average student is likely to leave college firmly rooted in the belief that poetry ceased with Shelley or Keats, or Tennyson or Browning, as the case may be.

[177] A scientific department conducted as a literary department is conducted, with no consideration of the achievements of the last thirty years, would be a disgrace to any college.

It is the gap unbridged by the university course which is of most vital consequence to the student; and when, after much false subsequent groping, that gap is bridged finally, the student is often no longer a student, and the first flush of the formative, creative period is passed. College students in literary courses remind one of rows of bleaching celery, banked and covered with earth; they are so carefully protected from any coloring contact with the ideas of the living present.

The other day the literary department of Princeton telegraphed to Mr. Vachel Lindsay to come down and recite his poems and talk about poetry to the students. This, for an American poet, is, so far as I know, a unique phenomenon. It is characteristic of the academic system that William Vaughn Moody was required to correct prose themes rather than to speak directly, during all the time that he was connected with the University of Chicago, on the subject of contemporary poetry. One could name at least a dozen living American poets whose creative enthusiasm might prove stimulating to members of the younger generation — if it were decided to expose the students to it.

Of late the modern drama and the modern novel have been considered not wholly unworthy of academic consideration, but modern poetry and modern art remain the outcasts and pariahs of the institutions of formal education.





Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

A Magazine of Verse.
Bd. 5, 1915, Nr. 4, Januar, S. 176-177.

Gezeichnet: A. C. H.

Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).

Poetry. A Magazine of Verse   online







Literatur: Henderson

Barnett, Elizabeth: Destroyed by Poetry: Alice Corbin and the Little Magazine Effect. In: Modernism/Modernity 24 (2017), S.  667-693.

Brandmeyer, Rudolf: Poetiken der Lyrik: Von der Normpoetik zur Autorenpoetik. In: Handbuch Lyrik. Theorie, Analyse, Geschichte. Hrsg. von Dieter Lamping. 2. Aufl. Stuttgart 2016, S. 2-15.

Crawford, Robert: The Modern Poet. Poetry, Academia, and Knowledge since the 1750s. Oxford u.a. 2004.

Marek, Jayne: Women Editing Modernism. "Little" Magazines and Literary History. Lexington 1995.

Nadel, Ira B. (Hrsg.): The Letters of Ezra Pound to Alice Corbin Henderson. Austin 1993.

Newcomb, John T.: How Did Poetry Survive? The Making of Modern American Verse. Urbana, Ill. u.a. 2012.

Pondrom, Cyrena N.: The Road from Paris. French Influence on English Poetry, 1900 – 1920. Cambridge 2010. – Zuerst 1974.




Literatur: Poetry

Carr, Helen: Poetry: A Magazine of Verse (1912-36), 'Biggest of Little Magazines'. In: The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Hrsg. von Peter Brooker u.a. Bd. 2: North America 1894-1960. Oxford 2012, S. 40-60.

Ernst, Jutta: Amerikanische Modernismen. Schreibweisen, Konzepte und zeitgenössische Periodika als Vermittlungsinstanzen. Würzburg 2018.

Marek, Jayne: Women Editing Modernism. Lexington 1995.

Massa, Ann: Form Follows Function: The Construction of Harriet Monroe and Poetry, A Magazine of Verse. Knoxville 1995.

Moody, A. David: Ezra Pound. Poet. Vol. I: The Young Genius 1885-1920. Oxford 2007.

Newcomb, John T.: Poetry's Opening Door: Harriet Monroe and American Modernism. In: Little Magazines & Modernism. New Approaches. Hrsg. von Suzanne Churchill u. Adam McKible. Aldershot, England 2007, S. 85-103.
URL:   [2005]

Newcomb, John T.: How Did Poetry Survive? The Making of Modern American Verse. Urbana, Ill. u.a. 2012.

Olson, Liesl: Chicago Renaissance. Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis. New Haven u. London 2017.

Parisi, Joseph / Young, Stephen (Hrsg.): Dear Editor. A History of Poetry in Letters. The First Fifty Years, 1912-1962. New York 2002.

Schulze, Robin G.: Harriet Monroe's Pioneer Modernism: Nature, National Identity, and Poetry, A Magazine of Verse. In: Legacy 21.1 (2004), S. 50-67.

Williams, Ellen: Harriet Monroe and the Poetry Renaissance. The First Ten Years of Poetry, 1912-22. Urbana 1977.




Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer