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Thursday, 17 January 2013

POET OF THE MONTH #2: Marianne Moore

MARIANNE MOORE, c. 1918





SILENCE


My father used to say,
'Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow's grave
or the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self-reliant like the cat
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse's limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint'.
Nor was he insincere in saying, 'Make my house your inn'.
Inns are not residences.
                                                                                    

(1924)   



 
The Poet:  Marianne Moore was born in Missouri on 15 November 1887, attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and worked briefly as a teacher in that state before relocating to New York where she became –– along with her friends Ezra Pound, HD (the pseudonym of Hilda Doolittle) and Wallace Stevens –– one of the best and most talked about of the 'new' American poets.  She was also an avid baseball fan and was once invited by the Ford Motor Company to contribute potential names for a new model it was planning to produce, none of which – Mongoose Civique, Varsity Stroke, Utopian Turtletop – it ever chose to use.  (I can't imagine why.  Is 'Edsel' really a better car name than 'Utopian Turtletop'?)  She won the Bollingen Prize, the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize and wrote the liner notes for I Am The Greatest!, a 1964 poetry album by Muhammad Ali (when he was still known as Cassius Clay), before dying of a brain aneurysm on 5 February 1972.

Click HERE to read more about the life and work of MARIANNE MOORE (plus a few more of her poems).

You might also enjoy:
WRITERS ON WRITING #51: Marianne Moore 
POET OF THE MONTH #35: Edna St Vincent Millay
THINK ABOUT IT #12: Rumer Godden 

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