William Stanley Braithwaite.

Anthology of magazine verse for 1918 ; and, Year book of American poetry online

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Online LibraryWilliam Stanley BraithwaiteAnthology of magazine verse for 1918 ; and, Year book of American poetry → online text (page 1 of 18)
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In loving memory of our deceased


Philura and Milton,

we give this book to the

Philura Gould Baldwin Memorial Library

Mr, mh Mvb. inint lallimitt. Jr.

BEREA, O 0_^_<5%<i.|V



Philura Gould Baldwin
Memorial Library

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FOPv 1918


The Five Wisdoms of Grainne, A Book

of Poems. (In preparation.)
The House of Falling Leaves
Lyrics of Life and Love

Going Over Tindel, A Novel. (In prep-

The Poetic Year for 1916, A Critical

Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1913

and Yearbook of American Poetry
Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1914

and Yearbook of American Poetry
Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1915

and Yearbook of American Poetry
Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1916

and Yearbook of American Poetry
Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1917

and Yearbook of American Poetry
Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1918

and Yearbook of American Poetry
The Golden Treasury of Magazine Verse
The Book of Elizabethan Verse
The Book of Restoration Verse

The Book of Georgian Verse





FOR 1918






Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010




Introduction ix-xx

Acknowledgments xxi

Anthology of Poems 1

The Yeaheook of American Poetry, 1918 .... 163

Index of Poets and Poems Published in Ameeicait
Magazines, October, 1917 — September, 1918 . . 165

Articles and Reviews of Poets and Poetry Pub-
lished During 1917-1918 222

Volumes of Poems Published During 1917-1918 . 231

A Select List of Books About Poets and Poetry
Published During 1917-1918 243

Some Important Volumes of Poems Published Dur-
ing 1917-1918 245

Biographical Index 260

Index of First Lines 278


" To object to the conventionality of art is to believe
in absolute realism, which, if 'possible, would be a
science and not an art." — R. A. M. Stevenson.

Three articles on poetry have been printed
during the past year which have interested me
because of the divergent points of view ex-
pressed. Of the three one only is safely and
securely between the shoals of R. A. M. Steven-
son's statement, which I quote at the head of
this introduction, and common sense. This is
Mr. Brian Hooker's "The Practical Use of
Poetry," which appeared in the December
(1917) issue of The Century Magazine. The
other two articles are, "What is Poetry.?" by
Maxwell Bodenheim, in The New Republic for
December 22, 1917, and "The Mechanism of
Poetic Inspiration," by Conrad Aiken, in the
North American Review for December, 1917.

The article by Mr. Aiken, based upon the in-
vestigations of Nicolas Kostyleff's book "Le Me-
canisme Cerebrale de la Pensee," is an attempt
to denude poetic inspiration of its mystery and
to rationalize its origin according to certain
psychological formulas in which the elements
of thought and emotion can be reasoned with
exactness. Mr. Aiken, as theorist, will allow

nothing for the influence of taste, feeling,
mental or emotional predilection, on judgment;
judgment must be absolute, in spite of the fact
that it has always been determined, starting
from a priori standards, through these very
same personal qualities of taste, feeling and
temperamental predilections. Mr. Aiken de-
sires that judgment should be scientific. A
poem should be analysed with exactness; the
process should be cold and calculating. The
laws of aesthetics, without cognizance of which
no true poem can exist, may be approached in
this spirit, but these laws are invariably plas-
tic and changeable, and they constitute but a
lateral and subsidiary significance in the imagi-
native and abstract branches of art, such as
poetry and fiction. Mr. Aiken imagines poetry
to be something as real and concrete as a bar
of iron ore which may be analysed by pure
science. As a matter of fact the reality of
poetry lies wholly in the abstract, and to reach
that reality, comprehend and interpret it, is
completely a matter of sentiment and not sci-
ence. And sentiment is passion and emotion
projecting the mind into regions of the invisible
and insubstantial where neither science nor
matter can reach.

I am not concerned here with the cause or
need of expression which Mr. Aiken emphasizes
with a Freudian cue, in his article. One can
safely let such a statement as this take care of
itself: "It is to some deep hunger, whether
erotic or not, or to some analogous compulsion,
that we must look for the source of power that

sets in motion the delicate mechanism, on an-
other plane, which M. Kostyleff has begun to
illuminate for us. It is clear that this is not
merely a sexual hunger, nor an sesthetic hunger,
nor an ethical hunger, though all may have
their place in it. . . . Is it merely in general the
hunger of the frustrate (which we all are) for
richer experience.'^" But doesn't this admis-
sion, by the way, nullify all the claims of Mr.
Aiken's pretense to a scientific explanation of
an art which reflects, if any art does, the varia-
ble and inscrutable consciousness of human life?

What does concern us is the hypotheses
Mr. Aiken presents in the course of his article
about the origin and development of poetic
inspiration, and in consequence the definition
and substance of the art of poetry. Could
Mr. Aiken prove his theory, or have it justified
by the history and tradition of the art, both
critical and creative, he would convince us
that the art is wholly and absolutely a mechan-
ical performance. Poe attempted this more
than half a century ago, and failed; and Mr.
Aiken with nothing like Poe's genius for intel-
lectual subtlety or logic is not apt to be any-
where near as plausible.

In this fashion IMr. Aiken attacks the belief —
he holds it rather as a critical and aesthetic
dogma, made infallible by sentimentality — of
the inexplicable and abstract quality of the
poetic impulse: "There is a widespread notion
in the public mind that poetic inspiration has
something mysterious and translunar about it,
— something which altogether escapes human

analysis, which it would be almost sacrilege to
touch. The Romans spoke of the poet's divine
afflatus, the Elizabethans of his fine frenzy.
And even in our own day critics, and poets them-
selves, are not lacking who take the affair quite
as seriously. Our critics and poets are them-
selves largely responsible for this, — they are a
sentimental lot, even when most discerning,
and cannot help indulging, on the one hand, in
a reverential attitude towards the art, and, on
the other, in a reverential attitude towards
themselves." Little of the scientific spirit which
has begun to light the literary criticism of
France, for example, has manifested itself in
America. Our criticism is still a rather primi-
tive parade of likes and dislikes: there is little
inquiry into psychological causes. . . . Mean-
while, if the literary folk have been droning,
the scientists have been busy." In support
of this accusation, what we get in Mr. Aiken's
article are statements, in upholding his scien-
tific theory of the creation and criticism of
poetry, such as these: that, "after all, the writ-
ing of poetry is, like speech itself, a purely cere-
bral affair: and that it is not the result of a
discharge of an excess of emotion in the poet so
much as a cerebral reaction to external stimuli."
"If poetry," asserts Mr. Aiken, "were only
an emotional discharge, it would be very much
less complex than it is. In reality the emo-
tional shock finds in the poet preformed cere-
bral mechanisms: mechanisms preformed by
study, by meditation, by life. These are chains
of reflexes which are not themselves kept in

the brain, but the paths of which are traced
there and easily reproduced. In a poet these
reproductions are particularly easy, and the
chains very numerous. The cerebral reflexes,
becoming linked at the will of unforeseen con-
nections, draw him along beyond the emotional
stimulus. . . . Indeed, what matters the ex-
tent of the emotional power, since the principle
does not lie there, but in the chains of cerebral
reflexes, and since the latter can be set off by
a stimulus wholly cerebral.^ . . . This obliges us
to admit at last that poetic inspiration has two
sources: the sensibility of the poet, and the
preformed mechanisms of verbal reactions."

This is of course very vague, is in fact noth-
ing but pure speculation, and indicates what
the application of scientific analysis — especially
by an unscientific mind — may do to so unof-
fending, unresisting and volatile a conscious-
ness as the poetic impulse functioning into ex-
pression. The basis of this scientific method
is "objective psychology." But the theorist
quite fails to appreciate the inexplicable and
dominant influence of the subjective identity
in the poet, which source of control over the
reactions of the external world is both too vague
and atavistic to be determined by the mental
apparatus of an "objective psychology." Only
by the temperature of the emotion can the
mind approximate and register a reality so in-
definitely constituted of immaterial elements
as the poetic inspiration, and the condensation
of those elements into rhythmical and imaged

Science fails before the assumption of solv-
ing such a riddle, which in the very nature of
historic human experience is too intricate and
contradictory for truth to piece together in a
pattern of facts; and the futility of applying
scientific formulas to the judgment of art, is
demonstrated by Mr. Aiken's article denying
in substance what logic asserts. We fall then,
in art, back into the secure arms of Mystery,
just as in matters of religion the orthodox after
an adventure in the tangling web of defiant
questioning, receiving no witness in deed or
voice, falls back into the secure arms of faith.
Upon this point, between the scientific (ra-
tional) and mystical (sentimental) spirit, Mr.
Chesterton has recorded an opinion which may
illustrate the divergence of Mr. Aiken's theory
from the practical standards of literary criti-
cism. He remarks that "It is not a question
between mysticism and rationality. It is a
question between mysticism and madness. For
mysticism, and mysticism alone, has kept men
sane from the beginning of the world. All the
straight roads of logic lead to some Bedlam, to
Anarchism or to passive obedience, to treating
the universe as a clockwork of matter or else as
a delusion of mind. It is only the Mystic, the
man who accepts the contradictions, who can
laugh and walk easily through the world."

It is only a step in the wrong direction from
Mr. Aiken's conception to Mr. Bodenheim's
definition of poetry. Mr. Bodenheim is at least
not confused in his ideas, but his ideals are sin-
ister. He seems to reflect some of James Elroy

Flecker's meanings of the function of poetry,
and though Flecker cut away all the Puritan
restrictions and impositions on the art, it re-
mained for this lamented young English poet,
its own excuse for being as an aesthetic force in
a world of co-operative influences. What Mr.
Bodenheim desires poetry should be, is a sort of
gorgeous and iridescent bubble. Only "mod-
ern poetry," he suggests, — and by modern
poetry he means, radical poetry, which is not
a criticism of life but a reproduction of li|e*
noOealltynSut realism, not evolution in form
towards an ideal but revolution against the
standards that impede the way of one's achieve-
ment — can create this whimsy of imaginative
expression. Mr. Bodenheim believes that
"what poetry really is, is still as hazy to poets
and laymen as it always has been." But then
he proceeds with a considerable amount of as-
surance to say what it is. "Pure poetry," he
writes, "is the vibrant expression of everything
clearly delicate and unattached with surface sen-
timent in the emotions of men towards them-
selves and nature. That pursuit of poetry," he
adds, "which has as its basis the wrongs of the
poor, or the utterance of the broader emotional
surges of humanity, may have an undying place
in literature, but it cannot be the basis of a
separate art. The distinct social message or
sermon, no matter how right or much needed
it may be, is only of a utilitarian or corrective
value, although it may rise to tremendous
heights of clear prose strength. True poetry is
the entering of delicately imaginative plateaus.

unconnected with human behefs or funda-
mental human feehngs."

As a concept this is entirely fallacious. If
one were to ask Mr. Bodenheim why he wrote
his own poems, would he answer for no reason
at all except to imprison a meaningless image in
a timeless cadence.'' Not at all. He makes a
poem because he hopes to convey to his read-
ers, through imagery and cadence, the state of
his own feeling and the clarity of his vision in
subjectively meditating on the external world,
or to give voice to an experience in which he
thinks there is an element of singular and origi-
nal emotional crisis. In wishing to convey this
substance of mood and experience he is but
laying bare those "reactions of the soul," com-
mon in one degree or another to all men; and
his poetry, no matter how decorative he makes
it, no matter how far or high his spirit may
wander on "delicately imaginative plateaus,"
cannot remain "unconnected with human be-
liefs or fundamental human feelings." This is,
of course, if what is written is poetry!

Poetry is, as I have said before, a perfectly
human thing. It is not, as Mr. Aiken thinks,
anatomy to be dissected in the laboratory; it
is not, as Mr. Bodenheim thinks, a design to be
scrawled on mist, vanishing in the sunlight of
experience. How can we arrive at a clear
understanding, then, of the significance of this
RTt? It is not, I think, by asking or trying to
decide with absolutism, what poetry is, — but
what does it mean? And we arrive, in my
opinion, to this clear understanding of what

poetry means, nearer, than either through Mr.
Aiken or Mr. Bodenheim, in Mr. Hooker's
answer in his article on "The Practical Use of

Let us consider Mr. Hooker's views. He
gives, too, a general definition of poetry, but is
not dogmatic about it. "We should all say off-
hand," he writes, " that poetry is the language
of imagination and emotion, traditionally, at
least, set forth in measured form; but it is
needful to observe a little more precisely
what this means. We can hear without
emotion of a child slain in war so long as we
merely understand the fact without imagining;
but the moment we imagine such a thing, we
begin to feel." This may well be supplemented
by the statement that "Poetry deals, as it were
with the feel of actual life, and so employs lan-
guage not so much to make us understand or
even imagine as to make us realize." Again he
asserts, "We see things happening toothers; we
feel things happening to ourselves. Poetry, by
virtue of its emotional point of view, is there-
fore peculiarly truthful about human truth;
and we are all of us living poetry so long as we
are vividly alive."

You note how Mr. Hooker comes back to
this quality of feeling in his article, like a motif.
It is because poetry is primarily and essentially
a matter of feeling. Again Mr. Hooker drives
this fact home. "There is no need," he says,
"more than to remind any observer of human
nature that mankind acts rather upon passion
than upon conviction. Brutus demonstrated

his point in prose; it was a poetic appeal that
made the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
We define and determine and decide, and still
do nothing; but when we begin to feel, some-
thing is done. Though we steer by learnuig
and intelligence, yet emotion must fill the sail.
Or, in another figure, action is the bullet and
passion the powder; and he who thinks to
achieve any practical affair by sheer intellect
shoots with an empty gun. There is no blinder
folly than the present fashion of using the word
sentimental as a term of reproach, and decry-
ing the impulse or incentive of sentiment. The
one efficient motive is emotion; the only good
reason for doing is a sentimental reason.
Dickens the sentimentalist led his reforms, and
Rousseau the sentimentalist aroused his revo-
lution; and we are still awaiting actual results
from Marcus Aurehus and Mr. Bernard Shaw."
This is clear common sense; it is the simple
truth, neither denuded by the apparatus of
science nor elaborated by the superfluities of
a delusive fancy. Poetry begins and ends in
feeUng, moves from the heart of the creator to
the heart of the reader in a vehicle of dream
whose motive power is a mystical intelligence.
This is amply proved by the practical use of
poetry as summed up by Mr. Hooker: "Poetry,
being what it is, the record of how it feels to be
ahve, constitutes our whole inheritance of
mutual understanding, our library of human-
nature, our tradition of all that personal expe-
rience in this world which we now hold in com-
mon, and whereby we know our neighbor and

ourselves. That old comparison of laws and
songs is not so antithetical, after all. For just
as the law keeps for our civilization a code or
body of social conduct, in every age deeply
studied by a few, by a few more increased or
altered, and held from age to age as a common
wisdom by which we half unconsciously direct
and civilize our hves, so poetry hands down to
each new generation an older and more general
code of emotional experience, a history of the
heart of man not only for the few who read at
first hand, but so transfusing and impregnating
our whole memory and sense of being that lan-
guage itself passes current upon the hidden gold
of our poetic treasury, and we compare our
motives and our passions by reference to for-
gotten dreams. If poetry could be in an in-
stant swept not merely out of print, but out of
language and tradition, there would be Babel
indeed. We should go about isolated each one
from each by a chaos of misunderstanding,
with no more communication than we could
improvise out of intellectual terms. We could
suggest nothing, connote nothing, say nothing
but what we could define."

The year in poetry I shall not discuss in this
issue. Though the overshadowing reality of
the war has not quenched the ardor and spirit
of the art, poets have a vaster dream to con-
template than that which springs from the
personal impulse. And if they are keeping
much in secret, it is for the greater certainty in
building a mystical foundation for the future.

Two facts, however, of the year in poetry
must here be recorded. The first is the well-
deserved award to Sara Teasdale of the Colum-
bia University prize of five hundred dollars, for
having produced during the year, the best vol-
mne of poems in "Love Songs." The second is
the lamented death of Sergeant Joyce Kilmer,
who was killed in action in the second Battle of
the Marne on July 30.

The selections in the Anthology this year
have been confined mostly to short poems, the
longest being between sixty and seventy fines.
This has necessarily compelled me to omit some
fine poems of greater length, which in another
year would have been readily included. My
purpose, as an innovation, was to make the
1918 anthology as lyrical as possible to exem-
plify the quafity of this achievement in current
American verse. W. S. B.

On tJie Feast of SS. Cornelius and Cyprian.
Cambridge, Massachusetts.


To the American poets and to the editors and
the proprietors of the magazines from which I
have selected the poems included in the Anthology,
I wish to express my obligation for the courteous
permissions to make use of material in the prep-
aration of this volume.

I wish also to thank The Boston Transcript
Company for permission to use material which ap-
peared in my annual review of American poetry
in the columns of The Exening Transcript.

To the following publishers I am indebted for
the privilege of using the poems named from the
volumes in which they have been included, and
which have been published before the appearance
of this Anthology :

The Macmillan Company: *' Recessional, in
Time of War: Medical Unit — " in Toward the
Gvlf, by Edgar Lee Masters : " How I Walked
Alone in the Jungle of Heaven," " How Samson
Bore Away the Gates of Gaza," in The Chinese
Nightingale, and Other Poems, by Vachel Lindsay.

Henry Holt & Company : " Warning," and
" Swan-Child," in the Old Road to Paradise, by
Margaret Widdemer ; " The Deaf-Mute Sermon,"
" Maureen Oge," " The Booted Hens " and " By
Clodagh's Stream," in My Ireland, Rhymes and
Simple Songs, by Francis Carlin.

George H. Doran Company : " On the Way
to the Cross," "The Meeting" and "Father
O'Shea," in The Silver Trumpet, by Amelia Jose-
phine Burr ; " Lavender " in City Tides, by Archie
Austin Coates.

Dodd, Mead & Company: "The Name," by
Anna Hempstead Branch; "A Pilgrimage," by
Nancy Barr Mavity ; " The Flock at Evening "
and " An Old Inn by the Sea," by Odell Shepard,
in The. Masque of Poets, edited by Edward J.

E. P. Button & Company : " Against My Sec-
ond Coming," " Hrolf 's Thrall — His Song " and
" I Have Had Great Pity," in Laterns of Gethr-
semane, by Willard Wattles.

The Midland Press: "Moon-Worship," "The
Banded," " The Games," " Road and Path " and
" Have You an Eye.'* " in Barbed Wire, and Other
Poems, by Edwin Ford Piper.

The Cornhill Company : " Celestial Signs," in
The Lover's Rosary, by Brookes More; "'Is
Missus," in Rhymes Grave and Gay, by Carolyn
and Gordon M. Hillman.

The Four Seas Company : " The Beach," " The
Unquiet " and " The Ascent," in A Cabinet of
Jade, by David O'Neil.




These have survived the seas' vicissitudes'

And lie at rest within this quiet hay.

No more of shifting tides and fickle winds in play -

These Tyrian galleys know soft interludes,

When o'er their cargo some old lover broods

And sees again a verse that slipped away.

Or hears a mocking bird, in moonlit May

Make vocal Nature's holiest haunting moods.

Dream ships, we never thought to look on more.

Saint Anthony has tipped your spars with fire

And salved you from the menace of the night.

Rest, fairy craft, rest on a fairy shore!

Faint bells ring welcome from a viewless spire.

While in the dusk the evening star grows bright.

Richmond Evening Journal Henry A. Sampson


Sometimes at night a song comes flying
Among the shadowy fields in sleepers
Who waken to its sweet careering
Through their bodies' colour and grace:
Magic pierces to their hearing
With sounds that are not heard by day;
Silence, breaking from its keepers.
Flies and music takes its place.
Those who waken and hear it crying
Find it beats with tidal motion;
It is the blood within their clay.
Remembering its ancient ocean.

To hear such wild and dreamy strains

Borne past the dim shores of the veins

The heart stops short — then beats again.

So to keep the singing flowing

Through the lands that lie in men.

For in the song those thousand streams

Are telling of their ancient fountain.

The sea, with all its jewels glowing

And beauty running on the waves.

Or buried in the water-mountain

Where the sea Shape, snowy and old.

In deeps that mock the diver's wish,

Blood-blind with war and a hate untold,

Still dooms and tombs in his diamond caves

The silver navies of the fish;

And the cold sea-worm, all curled

About the bones of battle gleams.

" Long past," (tlie song runs), "left behind,

— But we remember all in dreams, —

The battles in the water world

Till the landward gates were passed.

Long since^ all dim, long left behind,
The foes, the fangs, the hates at last
Buried in the water-mountain
With the nations of the blind."

Then the song changes and is young

A new music leaps in birth.

Flying sweet in the veins of each.

Flooding through the body's earth.

Telling with the spirit's tongue

Of new seas lifting on another beach.

In the spirit, in the heart's deep places.

Those hidden seas increase:

The shining love from the eternal spaces

That beats on earth with surges soft as fleece

Fills them in silence from a tidal fountain.

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Online LibraryWilliam Stanley BraithwaiteAnthology of magazine verse for 1918 ; and, Year book of American poetry → online text (page 1 of 18)