Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Who Were We? What Did We Want? Where Were We Going?


So the 20th Century is firmly behind us now, and I’m interested in what it will turn out we’ll say it was, over time.  I thought a good place to start would be the Academy of American Poets, as I just came across the anthology Fifty Years of American Poetry a couple weeks ago.  I was thinking it would be something of a baseline of the popular poets of the time.  That might be something to work with.  What I came up with was a radically different view of the 20th Century than the one I would write.  I wasn’t surprised, really, but it’s interesting to see just how many of the names I don’t recognize, even as the dates get more contemporary.  And, of course, the sometimes glaring names that do not appear (The Beat poets? Black Mountain poets? The Objectivists? for example).  And when the names appear, it’s interesting to see which young poets (award winners, usually, which make up the majority of names I don't recognize) are directly brought in and which poets only appear late in their careers.

The introduction to the volume is from Robert Penn Warren, and what interests me most in it is how he goes to great pains to stress the diversity of aesthetic positions represented in the anthology of “the Chancellors, Fellows, and Award Winners since 1934.”  He writes:

“A glance at the table of contents will show that no one school, bailiwick, method, or category of poetry has dominated the interest of the Academy.  The Academy has been interested in poetry, not in cults of schools, in helping, as best it could, though no doubt with some human failing, serious poets of whatever persuasion.” 

It’s all very interesting to see, as I would now characterize this list as a mostly very like-minded group.  Funny how time does that, making what at one point seems divergent into a unity. And then to see the next ten years after the 1984 edition, how the Academy navigated its way into the 90s.  Was there a next edition after that one?  I can’t seem to locate it.  Maybe I used bad search terms.  Maybe they stopped making anthologies.

But, whatever the future holds, this is how The Academy of American Poets remembers the 20th Century.  From a quick glance, it seems we loved our children, and that time rolls along, even if no one remembers us.

Fifty Years of American Poetry
Anniversary Volume for
The Academy of American Poets (1984)
Wood engravings by Barry Moser
Introduction by Robert Penn Warren

 (1910) / E. A. Robinson
 (1915) / Edgar Lee Masters
 (1915) / Ezra Pound
 (1916) / Padraic Colum
 (1917) / Witter Bynner
 (1918) / Conrad Aiken
 (1924) / Joseph Auslander
 (1924) / John Crowe Ransom
 (1927) / William Rose Benet
 (1928) / Robinson Jeffers
 (1928) / Edna St. Vincent Millay
 (1929) / Oliver St. John Gogarty
 (1930) / Archibald MacLeish
 (1932) / Allen Tate
 (1932) / Edwin Markham
 (1934) / Audrey Wurdemann
 (1935) / Marianne Moore
 (1935) / Muriel Rukeyser
 (1936) / Carl Sandburg
 (1937) / Dudley Fitts
 (1938-40) / Percy MacKaye
 (1939) / Leonora Speyer
 (1940) / E. E. Cummings
 (1940) / Max Eastman
 (1941) / John Neihardt
 (1941) / Ridgely Torrence
 (1942) / Robert Frost
 (1942) / Randall Jarrell
 (1943) / Leonard Bacon
 (1944) / Richard Eberhart
 (1944) / Kenneth Rexroth
 (1944) / Jesse Stuart
 (1944) / Mark Van Doren
 (1948) / W. H. Auden
 (1949) / Rolfe Humphries
 (1950) / Robert Francis
 (1950) / Robert Nathan
 (1953) / Louise Bogan
 (1953) / Louise Townsend Nicholl
 (1954) / Leonie Adams
 (1954) / William Carlos Williams
 (1956) / Robert Fitzgerald
 (1957) / Daniel Berrigan
 (1957) / Babette Deutsch
 (1957) / Robert Hillyer
 (1959) / Ned O'Gorman
 (1959) / Richard Wilbur
 (1961) / X. J. Kennedy
 (1961) / John Hall Wheelock
 (1963) / John Updike
 (1964) / John Berryman
 (1964) / Robert Lowell
 (1964) / Adrien Stoutenberg
 (1966) / David Wagoner
 (1967) / Donald Justice
 (1967) / May Swenson
 (1968) / James Wright
 (1969) / James Schuyler
 (1970) / John Ashbery
 (1970) / Robert Hayden
 (1971) / Sylvia Plath
 (1971) / Stanley Kunitz
 (1972) / Peter Everwine
 (1972) / Richmond Lattimore
 (1973) / Constance Carrier
 (1974) / John Balaban
 (1974) / Josephine Miles
 (1975) / Richard Hugo
 (1975) / Stan Rice
 (1976) / Elizabeth Bishop
 (1976) / Philip Booth
 (1976) / Horace Gregory
 (1976) / James Merrill
 (1977) / Jane Cooper
 (1977) / Laura Gilpin
 (1977) / Robert Mezey
 (1978) / Edward Field
 (1978) / Donald Hall
 (1978) / Robert Penn Warren
 (1979) / Ai
 (1979) / W. D. Snodgrass
 (1980) / Galway Kinnell
 (1980) / Jared Carter
 (1980) / Stephen Dobyns
 (1980) / Anthony Hecht
 (1980) / Howard Nemerov
 (1980) / Marilyn Hacker
 (1980) / William Meredith
 (1980) / Mark Strand
 (1981) / Marvin, Bell
 (1981) / Christopher Gilbert
 (1981) / Edward Hirsch
 (1981) / Philip Levine
 (1981) / Larry Levis
 (1981) / Gerald Stern
 (1981) / Michael Van Walleghen
 (1982) / Peter Davison
 (1982) / Carolyn Forche
 (1982) / Brad Leithauser
 (1982) / Margaret Gibson
 (1982) / William Harmon
 (1982) / Lisel Mueller
 (1982) / John Frederick Nims
 (1982) / Lauren Shakely
 (1982) / Alberto Rios
 (1982) / Gjertrud Schnackenberg
 (1982) / Charles Simic
 (1982) / George Starbuck
 (1982) / Mona Van Duyn
 (1983) / David Bottoms
 (1983) / Henri Coulette
 (1983) / Louis Coxe
 (1983) / J. V. Cunningham
 (1983) / Kenneth O. Hanson
 (1983) / Rika Lesser
 (1983) / Anthony Petrosky
 (1983) / J. D. MacClatchy
 (1983) / W. S. Merwin
 (1983) / Reg Saner
 (1983) / Sharon Olds
 (1983) / James Scully
 (1983) / Karen Snow
 (1983) / Frederick Seidel
 (1984) / Charles Wright


Poems added for the 60th anniversary edition
Introduction by Richard Wilbur

 (1976) / Howard Moss
 (1981) / Josephine Jacobsen
 (1983) / David Ferry
 (1983) / Vicki Hearne
 (1984) / Stephen Mitchell
 (1985) / Norman Williams
 (1986) / Mark Anderson
 (1986) / William Arrowsmith
 (1986) / Cornelius Eady
 (1986) / Peter Hargitai
 (1986) / Li-Young Lee
 (1986) / Jane Shore
 (1987) / Michael Blumenthal
 (1987) / Melissa Green
 (1987) / Rosmarie Waldrop
 (1988) / Judith Baumel
 (1988) / John Hollander
 (1988) / Garrett Hongo
 (1988) / Richard Lyons
 (1988) / Katha Pollitt
 (1989) / Thomas Bolt
 (1989) / Maxine Kumin
 (1989) / Christopher Merrill
 (1989) / Minnie Bruce Pratt
 (1989) / Peter Schmitt
 (1990) / John Duval
 (1990) / Robert Fagles
 (1990) / Martha Hollander
 (1991) / Diane Ackerman
 (1991) / Allen Grossman
 (1991) / Eric Pankey
 (1991) / Elaine Terranova
 (1991) / Susan Wood
 (1992) / Kathryn Stripling Byer
 (1992) / Nicholas Christopher
 (1992) / Greg Glazner
 (1992) / Jeffrey Harrison
 (1992) / Daniel Hoffman
 (1992) / William Logan
 (1992) / J. Allyn Rosser
 (1993) / April Bernard
 (1993) / Chris Llewellyn
 (1993) / Barton Sutter
 (1993) / Rosanna Warren
 (1993) / Cynthia Zarin
 (1994) / Cyrus Cassells
 (1994) / Amy Clampitt
 (1994) / David Clewell
 (1994) / Alison Deming
 (1994) / Irving Feldman
 (1994) / Peter Gizzi
 (1994) / Richard Howard
 (1994) / Marie Howe
 (1994) / Carolyn Kizer
 (1994) / Mary Jo Salter
 (1994) / Timothy Steele
 (1995) / Christianne Balk
 (1995) / Rita Dove
 (1995) / Brigit Pegeen Kelly
 (1995) / Cleopatra Mathis
 (1995) / Naomi Shihab Nye
 (1995) / Adrienne Rich
 (1995) / Jan Richman
 (1995) / Andrew Schelling
 (1995) / Edward Snow
 (1995) / John Yau
 (1996) / George Bradley
 (1996) / Alfred Corn
 (1996) / Michael Cuddihy
 (1996) / Jon Davis
 (1996) / Jorie Graham
 (1996) / Martin Greenberg
 (1996) / Debora Greger
 (1996) / Rodney Jones
 (1996) / Richard Kenney
 (1996) / Philip Schultz
 (1996) / Stephen Yenser

Box? What box? There are no boxes here!

2 Comments:

At 1/12/2012 9:59 AM, Blogger Fuzz Against Junk said...

The strangest thing about this is to see Pound and not see Eliot. It seems like Eliot is talked about more than Pound these days. When did that happen?

 
At 1/12/2012 3:00 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

It's odd to me to see Pound on there at all. I'm not sure what the Pound association with the Academy was, as he was living in Europe.

I suppose Eliot wasn't there because he was pretty British by 1935. But why wasn't Stevens ever a Chancellor?

It's certainly a different collection of people than any other list of the 20th century I've seen.

 

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