By Nava Atlas | On March 9, 2023 | Updated March 14, 2023 | Comments (0)
Louise Bogan (1897 – 1970) has largely fallen off the radar when it comes to American poetry of the 20th century, yet in her time she was one of the most lauded poets of her generation. Presented here is the full text of her first published book of poems, Body of this Death (1923).
The title is derived from the quote, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” from the King James Bible.
Bogan’s poetry was praised by her contemporaries for its spare, restrained style. Much of her expression and subject matter was derived from her personal life (which wasn’t an easy one), yet her subtlety prevented her poems from becoming confessional. Read More→
By Nava Atlas | On January 27, 2023 | Comments (0)
Originally published in Scribner’s Magazine in 1903, “A Death in the Desert” is a widely anthologized short story by Willa Cather. The full text of its final, 1920 version is presented here.
Cather had two occasions to self-edit the story. It appeared in her first collection of stories, The Troll Garden (1905), and then in Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920). All told, she edited it down from about ten thousand words to seven thousand, polishing it to its essence.
“A Death in the Desert” tells of a man named Everett who, at the start of the story, is on a train from Holdrege, Nebraska to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Bearing a strong resemblance to his older brother Adriance, a well-known musician, he is forever burdened by the comparison. Read More→
By Nava Atlas | On January 21, 2023 | Comments (0)
It’s almost a cliché to say that Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) was known for her acid wit, but that’s an accurate way to describe her acerbic style. Enough Rope: Poems by Dorothy Parker (1926) was her first published collection of verse. This collection includes the much-anthologized verses “Résumé” and “One Perfect Rose.”
In addition to verse, Parker wrote short stories, essays, and reviews. She was one of the founding members of the Algonquin Roundtable, an exclusive group of eminent New York City writers in the early twentieth century.
Published by Boni and Liveright (NY) in 1926, Enough Rope is dedicated “To Elinor Wylie” a highly regarded poet of the era. A credit line reads: “The verses in this book were first printed in Life, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The New York World.” Read More→
By Nava Atlas | On January 13, 2023 | Updated January 21, 2023 | Comments (0)
For Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1921 proved to be the year she broke through. A Few Figs from Thistles, her first major collection after Renascence and Other Poems (1917), explored, among other themes, love and female sexuality. It was soon followed by Second April, also published in 1921.
Second April, which is in the public domain, is presented here in full. The poems dealt with love, heartbreak, nature, and death. These 1921 publications catapulted her to superstar status, something rarely achieved by a poet, before or since.
Throughout the 1920s — call them The Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age — Vincent, as she was known by those closest to her, recited to enthusiastic, sold-out crowds during her many reading tours at home and abroad. Read More→
By Nava Atlas | On December 27, 2022 | Updated January 1, 2023 | Comments (0)
1923 was a banner year for Edna St. Vincent Millay. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her fourth volume of poems, The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems (published in 1922).
She was only the second person to receive a Pulitzer for poetry, and the first woman to win the prize. Following is the full text of this collection.
That year, Vincent also embarked on an unconventional marriage with Eugen Jan Boissevain. The handsome Dutch importer was a kindhearted man twelve years her senior, and she married him when, as her erstwhile lover Edmund Wilson saw it, “she was tired of breaking hearts and spreading havoc.” Read More→