Moore & Yeats

A review of a new anthology of Marianne Moore’s poetry observes that until now there has been no comprehensive collection of the poet’s work. Moore herself put together a collection at one point, but it suffered because she was such a harsh critic of her own work:

A poem such as “Poetry” was reduced by Moore from its original 30 lines to just three:

I, too, dislike it: there are things

that are important beyond all this fiddle.

Reading it, however, with a

perfect contempt for it, one discovers in

it, after all, a place for the


Richard Eder takes a look at a new 1400-page Yeats biography:

The biography’s detail may sometimes seem excessive [OMG, really?], but it is only seriously so in the lengthy account of the seven-year lucubrations with which Yeats assembled the mystical contents — drawn from Eastern philosophies, Neoplatonism, spiritualism and much else — of “The Vision.” Mr. Foster had to do it, no doubt because so many splendid poems flashed, fully fledged, from the miasma. But it makes hard reading.

On the other hand, there is a brilliant account of the automatic writing that Yeats practiced with his wife, George Hyde-Lees. She seems to have used it as transactional analysis on her wild and woolly minded husband. “Communicators” prescribed sex, diet, exercise. This had the effect of getting the arch-romantic to submit to domestic and marital duties by linking them to the higher spirits. When he doubted an answer, she would step back and blame it on “frustrators.”

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