Saturday, August 14, 2010

All You Really Need to Know

1. She never attended college because her family didn't like her mixing with the hired hands.

2. She lived as a socialite and traveled widely, turning to poetry after being inspired by a performance by Duse, who was the Lady Gaga of her day.

3. She was said to be a lesbian. There seems to be a good prima facie case for this, since she and several females were known to have been lovers.

4. She traveled to England, alone, with another woman. Another woman, it should be pointed out, who was not a man.

5. She met Ezra Pound, who at once became a major influence and a major critic.

6. She died and was then able immediately to posthumously win the Pulitzer Prize. She had tried to win the Pulitzer Prize posthumously previously, but these foolhardy attempts had been made while she was still alive.

7. Her first published work (like the first published works of many poets) appeared in Atlantic Monthly.

8. A "glandular problem" kept her continually overweight, and Ezra Pound repeated another poet's description of her as a "hippopoetess." Every American poet would use sarcastic air quotes when saying the words "glandular problem" in reference to the poet's weight. This was the same period in which T.S. Eliot and Pound were carrying on that correspondence in which they titillated each other with their shared racist sense of humor, their Amos and Andy type shenanigans. It was a great time for maturity in American poetics. It's always a great time for maturity in American poetics. Look around.

9. Pound was perhaps angry at her for picking up Imagism and walking away with it like a hat, one day when he let it rest on a chair as he went off after a young redhead.

10. Afterwards, Pound disparaged Imagism and the poetess relentlessly. And said other "hurtful things" on the playground of poetry. It bothered him no end that she was not Jewish. Because he had, like, so many great "zingers" and "snaps" to use against Jews.

11. She was frustrated in her desire to collect vital Keatsiana, which the poet felt she needed for her biography of the poet. It is frustrating when dead poets play "hard to get." Poets are so conditioned to do this while alive that most of them just keep doing it when dead.

12. Her poetry has not fared well in the past half century. It is to be noted that her poetical works have inspired the naming of several popular air fresheners, in solid, liquid and aerosolized forms.

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