Rolfe Humphries (1894-1969), in addition to being an oustanding poet, left a trail as a translator, teacher, critic, and editor. But, as Richard Gillman maintains in his introduction, poetry was the driving force behind these other special skills and interests. These letters illumine Humphries and his achievements. We see him as the mentor to younger poets, including Rheodore Roethke, providing rare glimpses of poetics and the creative process; the teacher so charmed by horseracing he sometimes "put an exam on the blackboard ...and then bugged out for the track"; the "literary terrorist" whose criticism Robert Frost never forgot and probably never forgave him for; the translator whose "Aeneid" prompted W.H. Auden to call it "a service for which no public reward could be too great"; the author of an introduction to Ezra Pound's poems who defied Pound's demand that a reference to his anti-Semitism he deleted. Active in America's literary community, Humphries was a friend of many poets and writers, including Louise Bogan, Edmund Wilson and Roethke.
This volume takes on added meaning by completing the published account of the relationships of these four as already told by Roethke, bogan, and, to a lesser extent, Wilson. "Poets, Poetics, and Politics" is set in a period that opened just two years before the birth of Harriet Monroe's "Poetry"; when it closed most of the 20th-century's literary giants had died. Also in this time, man writers, Humphries included, dreamed the dreams of communism; his letters on this subject are both informative and absorbing.
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 699 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
Edition: New ed.