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Early 1900s Poetic Movements

  • Acmeism (Greek, "pinnacle of") was a short lived early 20th century, poetic movement similar to Imagism. A school of Russian poets in 1910 attempted a break from the vague and symbolic poetry of the time. Their goal was to create maximum emotion from lucid and sensory vivid images. The movement was cut short by the Russian Revolution and the difficult cultural climate of the time.  The Acmeist poet was anti symbolism, they strived for "dense and phonically saturated poetry". NPEOP They attempted to express graphic sharpness and to show the texture of things rather than the "inner soul" NPEOP

                            African Night by Nikolay Gumilev translated by Don Major

                             Midnight descends, darkness everywhere,
                             Only the river glitters from the moon
                             Beyond the river an unknown tribe somewhere
                             Is lighting fires and making angry sounds.

                             We’ll meet tomorrow and determine then
                             Who is the master over all this land,
                             They’re aided by the wearing of black stones,
                             We — by crucifixes on our bare skin.

                             Here even the trees refuse to grow
                             As I survey the low hills and dry gullies,
                             In this desolate land of Sidamo
                             Where here we’ll store our baggage, there the mules.

                             I am pleased to think that if we win, —
                             Many times we’ve won before today, —
                             From hill to hill to the far horizon
                            The yellow road will lead us on our way.

                             If tomorrow the waves of the River Webbe
                            Swallow my groans of anguish in their roar
                             In the colorless heavens I will see
                             The black god’s fierce fight with the god of fire.

  • The Auden Group, also called the Thirties Movement, is really less a movement than simply a categorizing of Irish and English poets of the 1930s who went to either Oxford or Cambridge around the same time and tended to have leftist political views. Named for W.H. Auden, the group included Louise MacNeice, and Stephen Spender among others.

    The Laborer in the Vineyard by Stephen Spender

    Here are the ragged towers of vines
    Stepped down the slope in terraces.

    Through torn spaces between spearing leaves
    The lake glows with waters combed sideways,
    And climbing up to reach the vine-spire vanes
    The mountain crests beyond the far shore
    Paint their sky of glass with rocks and snow.

    Lake below, mountains above, between
    Turrets of leaves, grape-triangles, the labourer stands.

    His tanned trousers form a pedestal,
    Coarse tree-trunk rising from the earth with bark
    Peeled away at the navel to show
    Shining torso of sun-burnished god
    Breast of lyre, mouth coining song.
    My ghostly, passing-by thoughts gather
    Around his hilly shoulders, like those clouds
    Around those mountain peaks their transient scrolls.

    He is the classic writing all this day,
    Through his mere physical being focusing
    All into nakedness. His hand
    With outspread fingers is a star whose rays
    Concentrate timeless inspiration
    Onto the god descended in a vineyard
    With hand unclenched against the lake's taut sail
    Flesh filled with statue, as the grape with wine.

  • Augustan Poetry refers to one of two sources of poetry: Latin -(27 B.C-14 A.D.) the great period of Roman literature under Emperor Augustus, produced the writings of Horace, Virgil and Ovid. O r England in the early 18th century England, neoclassic period, which included the formal writings of poets like Alexander Pope. John Dryden Swift and Joseph Addison The poetry was often satirical and political. The precedence of individual or society was a common subject.

    Marlborough at Blenheim by Joseph Addison

    BEHOLD in awful march and dread array
    The long extended squadrons shape thier way!
    Death, in approaching terrible, imparts
    An anxious horror to the bravest hearts;
    Yet do their beating breasts demand the strife,
    And thirst of glory quells the love of life.
    No vulgar fears can British minds control:
    Heat of revenge, and noble pride of soul,
    O'erlook the foe, advantag'd by his post,
    Lessen his nmbers,a nd contract his host;
    Though fens and floods possest the middle space,
    That unprovok'd they would have fear'd to pass;
    Nor fens nor floods can stop Britannia's bands,
    When her proud foe rang'd on their borders stands.
    But O, my Muse, what numbers wilt thou find
    To sing the furious troops in battle join'd!
    Methinks I hear the drums tumultuous sound
    The victor's shouts and dying groans confound,
    The dreadful burst of cannon rend the skies,
    And all the thunder of the battle rise.
    'Twas then great Marlborough's mighty soul was prov'd,
    That, in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd,
    Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
    Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war:
    In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd,
    To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,
    Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage,
    And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.
    So when an angel by divine command
    With rising tempests shaks a guilty land,
    Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past,
    Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
    And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
    Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.

  • Cubist Poetry, was the early 20th century movement of Picasso's "sum of destruction" emulated in poetry. French poet Guillame Apollinaire was a cubist.

    Clotilde by Guillame Apollinaire

    Anemone and columbine
    Where gloom has lain
    Opened in gardens
    Between love and disdain

    Made somber by the sun
    Our shadows meet
    Until the sun
    Is squandered by night

    Gods of living water
    Let down their hair
    And now you must follow
    A craving for shadows.

  • Dymock Poets were a 20th century, group of poets who gathered together in the Gloucestershire village of Dymock to write and discuss poetry in the years immediately preceding World War I. They included Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas, and Wilfred Gibson.

    In A Restaurant by Wilfred Gibson

    HE wears a red rose in his buttonhole,
    A city-clerk on Sunday dining out:
    And as the music surges over the din
    The heady quavering of the violin
    Sings through his blood, and puts old cares to rout,
    And tingles, quickening, through his shrunken soul,

    Till he forgets he ledgers, and the prim
    Black, crabbèd figures, and the qualmy smell
    Of ink and musty leather and leadglaze,
    As, in eternities of Summer days.

  • Georgian Poetry is a poetic movement named for period of the reign of the English King George V (1910-1936). Techinically it refers to the work of 36 poets included in a 5 volume anthology titled Georgian Poetry but in has also spilled over to include most conventional, romantic verse of the same period. Some of the 36 poets were later labeled War Poets which by this association is sometimes lumped into Georgian Poetry. some Georgian poets are Abercrombie, Walter de la Mare, Edmund Blunden, Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon.

    The Empty House by Walter de la Mare

    My mind is like a clamorous market-place.
    All day in wind, rain, sun, its babel wells;
    Voice answering to voice in tumult swells.
    Chaffering and laughing, pushing for a place,
    My thoughts haste on, gay, strange, poor, simple, base;
    This one buys dust, and that a bauble sells:
    But none to any scrutiny hints or tells
    The haunting secrets hidden in each sad face.

    The clamour quietens when the dark draws near;
    Strange looms the earth in twilight of the West,
    Lonely with one sweet star serene and clear,
    Dwelling, when all this place is hushed to rest,
    On vacant stall, gold, refuse, worst and best,
    Abandoned utterly in haste and fear.

  • Graveyard Poets, also called Churchyard Poets, were 18th century poets who focused their work on human mortality. The poems often took place in a graveyard. Thomas Gray is probably the best known of these poets. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

    Sonnet on the Death of Richard West by Thomas Gray

    In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
    And red'ning Phobus lifts his golden fire;
    The birds in vain their amorous descant join;
    Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
    These ears, alas! for other notes repine,
    A different object do these eyes require.
    My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;
    And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.

    Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
    And new-born pleasure brings to happier men:
    The fields to all their wonted tribute bear:
    To warm their little loves the birds complain:
    I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
    And weep the more because I weep in vain.

  • The Harlem Renaissance was an African American literary movement in the 1920s and 1930s. Poets such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen are probably the best known.

    For A Poet by Countee Cullen

    I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
    And laid them away in a box of gold;
    Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
    I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
    I hide no hate; I am not even wroth
    Who found earth's breath so keen and cold;
    I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
    And laid them away in a box of gold.

  • Imagism
  • Jazz Poetry is an early 20th century movement initiated by the American poet Vachel Lindsay to perform, chanting their poetry. Langston Hughes was one of the first to recite his poetry to music. Beat poets became a part of the movement in coffee houses all over the US.

    Madam and Her Madam by Langston Hughes

    I worked for a woman,
    She wasn't mean--
    But she had a twelve-room
    House to clean.
    Had to get breakfast,
    Dinner, and supper, too--
    Then take care of her children
    When I got through.
    Wash, iron, and scrub,
    Walk the dog around--

    It was too much,
    Nearly broke me down.

    I said, Madam,
    Can it be
    You trying to make a
    Pack-horse out of me?
    She opened her mouth.
    She cried, Oh, no! You know, Alberta,
    I love you so!
    I said, Madam, That may be true--

  • Lake Poets is a term used to identify 19th century poets, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge who all lived in the Lake District of England and drew inspiration from the landscape. There is no distinct style or philosophy that came from the Lake poets but they were all considered part of the Romantic Movement and all at one time or another shared uncomplimentary critiques from the Edinburgh Review.

    To A Goose by Robert Southey

    If thou didst feed on western plains of yore
    Or waddle wide with flat and flabby feet
    Over some Cambrian mountain's plashy moor,
    Or find in farmer's yard a safe retreat
    From gipsy thieves and foxes sly and fleet;
    If thy grey quills by lawyer guided, trace
    Deeds big with ruin to some wretched race,
    Or love-sick poet's sonnet, sad and sweet,
    Wailing the rigour of some lady fair;
    Or if, the drudge of housemaid's daily toil,
    Cobwebs and dust thy pinion white besoil,
    Departed goose! I neither know nor care.
    But this I know, that thou wert very fine,
    Seasoned with sage and onions and port wine.

  • Nature Poets are poets who's subject is primarily nature, animals, birds, insects and vegitation. Noted Nature Poets span the centuries, some names are Ted Hughes, DH Lawrence, Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Clare. "poems, like animals, are each one 'an assembly of living parts, moved by a single spirit.' Ted Hughes

    Trees in a Garden by DH Lawrence

    Ah in the thunder air
    now still the trees are!

    And the lime-tree, lovely and tall, every leaf silent
    hardly looses even a last breath of perfume.

    And the ghostly, creamy coloured little tree of leaves
    white, ivory white among the rambling green
    show evanescent, variegated elder, she hesitates on the green grass
    as if, in another moment, she would disappear
    with all her grace of foam!

    And the larch that is only a column, it goes up too tall to see
    and the balsam-pines that are blue with the grey-blue blueness
    --------------------- of things from the sea,
    and the young copper beech, its leaves red-rosy at the end
    show still they are together, they stand so still
    in the thunder air, all strangers to one another
    as the green grass glows upwards, strangers in the silent garden.
    ------------------- Lichtental

  • Poets of Elan poetic movement in Ecuador that touched on the social and political climate of the early 1900s. One poet in particular, Adalberto Ortiz explored the trials of the Afro-Hispanic.

    from Tierra, son y tambora by Adalberto Oritiz

    Un bombo retumba en la yungla:
    iViva Patricio Lumumba
    revolviendose en su tumba!
    Otra vez Chang6
    y otra vez bong6 y mas bong6 y mas bongo
    y otra vez bongo y ma's bongo y ma's bongo
    y otra vez bongo y ma's bongo y ma's bongo y ma's

  • Pylon Poets were 1930s left-wing poets who were known for their use of industrial imagery - road, trains, skyscrapers, factories, etc. The actual term 'pylon' was derived from Spender's 1933 poem The Pylons. Poets such as Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden, Cecil Day-Lewis and Louis MacNeice were Pylon poets.

    Pylons by Stephen Spender

    The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages
    Of that stone made,
    And crumbling roads
    That turned on sudden hidden villages

    Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
    That trails black wire
    Pylons, those pillars
    Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.

    The valley with its gilt and evening look
    And the green chestnut
    Of customary root,
    Are mocked dry like the parched bed of a brook.

    But far above and far as sight endures
    Like whips of anger
    With lightning's danger
    There runs the quick perspective of the future.

    This dwarfs our emerald country by its trek
    So tall with prophecy
    Dreaming of cities
    Where often clouds shall lean their swan-white neck.

  • Scottish Renaissance reached across the arts but primarily had its roots in literature. It was an attempt of Scottish modernist artists to connect with their roots. It could almost be thought of as an attempt to preserve or save a diminishing language, bringing into the modern world a sound of the ancient, a nationalist signature.

    The Watergaw by Hugh MacDiarmid (1 stanza)watergaw meaning a broken shard of a rainbow. A translation of this poem from the "Scot's language" by the poet himself in both the English and Scot's version can be heard at Poetry Archive

    One wet, early evening in the sheep-shearing season
    I saw that occasional, rare thing -
    a broken shaft of a rainbow with its trembling light
    beyond the downpour of the rain
    and I thought of the last, wild look you gave
    before you died.

  • The Southern Agrarians originally were twelve American, Southern writers who collaborated on a book I'll Take My Stand which was published in 1930. It was their initial attempt at to preserve many of the innate features of Southern living, stability and closeness to the land. They attributed the Civil War and the Reformation to the rise of materialism, industrialism and applied modern science which they felt was choking the more graceful, fulfilling characteristics out of the south. John Crowe Ransom, Andrew Lytle, Henry B. Kline, Stark Young, Lyle H. Lanier, Frank L. Owsley, Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, John Gould Fletcher, Herman C. Nixon, Robert Penn Warren, and John Donald Wade were among the 12. Although the basic tenants of the agrarians were constant, their approach to its solution was individual. Each offered a different perspective. The staunch philosophy of the agrarians is that humanity requires roots in the land in order to be nurtured and sustained. The proposed that culture has a "linguistic" connection to agriculture.

    Evening Hawk by Robert Penn Warren

    From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
    Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
    Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
    The last tumultuous avalanche of

    Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
    The hawk comes.
    ------------- His wing
    Scythes down another day, his motion
    Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
    The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

    The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

    Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
    Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
    Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
    Into shadow.

    --------- Long now,
    The last thrush is still, the last bat
    Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
    Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
    Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

    If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
    The earth grind on its axis, or history
    Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

  • The School of Spectric Poetry, is not a school of poetry at all. The term was created as a hoax by two poets, Witter Byner and Arthur Davidson Fricke under the alias' of Emanuel Morgan and Anne Knish. They wrote a book of "nonsense" poetry, Spectra published in 1916 which included a preface introducing the Spectric School of Poetry. Many noted poets such as Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams fell for the hoax and gave credence to the movement in interviews and essays before being alerted to the deception.


                       EMANUEL MORGAN
                                         Opus 46

                     ONLY know that you are given me                                      
    -                 --- For my delight.
                     No other angle finishes my soul
                      ---- But you, you white.
                     know that I am given you,
                     Black whirl to white,
                     To lift the seven colors up.

                      Focus of light!




                  Opus 191

    THE black bark of a dog
    Made patterns against the night.
    And little leaves flute-noted across the moon.
    --- I seemed to feel your soft looks
    Steal across that quiet evening room
    Where once our souls spoke, long ago.
    ---- For that was of a vastness;
    And this night is of a vastness..

    ---- There was a dog-bark then –
    It was the sound
    Of my rebellious and incredulous heart.
    Its patterns twined about the stars
    And drew them down
    And devoured them.

  • Surrealist Poets were a group of 20th century French poets inspired by Freud's theories of the unconscious and attempted to emulate his theory with irrational images. Some Surrealists were André Breton, Louis Aragon and Paul Éluard.

    She Looks Into Me by Paul Éluard

    She looks into me
    The unknowing heart
    To see if I love
    She has confidence she forgets
    Under the clouds of her eyelids
    Her head falls asleep in my hands
    Where are we
    Together inseparable
    Alive alive
    He alive she alive
    And my head rolls through her dreams.

  • Symbolist Poets were a group of 19th century French poets who wrote with evocative language with symbolism in rebellion of the objectivity and realism of the Pamassian movement. Some of the poets ere Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlain.

    The Seekers of Lice by Arthur Rimbaud
    translated by Jeremy Harding

    When the boy's head, full of raw torment,
    Longs for hazy dreams to swarm in white,
    Two charming older sisters come to his bed
    With slender fingers and silvery nails.
    They sit him at a casement window, thrown
    Open on a mass of flowers basking in blue air,
    And run the fine, intimidating witchcraft
    Of their fingers through his dew-dank hair.
    He listens to their diffident, sing-song breath,
    Smelling of elongated honey off the rose,
    Broken now and then by a hiss: saliva sucked
    Back from the lip, or a longing to be kissed.
    He hears their dark eyelashes start in the sweet-
    Smelling silence and, through his grey listlessness,
    The crackle of small lice dying, beneath
    The imperious nails of their soft, electric fingers.
    The wine of Torpor wells up in him then—
    Near on trance, a harmonica-sigh —
    And in their slow caress he feels
    The endless ebb and flow of a desire to cry.

  • War Poetry is poetry from that came out of World War I. Certainly there has been "war poetry" that has come out of wars before and after World War I, but it seems that the poets of WWI wrote about the personal pain of war, the discomfort of soggy trenches and the awkwardness of suddenly having to put on a gas mask. Poets such as Siegfried Sassoon, Edward Thomas, Rupert Brook, Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen were among several poets of the Great War. Thomas and Owens died in battle, Owen died 7 days before the end of the war. Since then, there have been some poets from World War II such as Keith Douglas, Alun Owen, Sidney Keyes and Henry Reed that have been included in this category.

    Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

    GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum estPro patria mori.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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  • 3 years later...

African Night by Nikolay Gumilev translated by Don Major

Midnight descends, darkness everywhere,
Only the river glitters from the moon
Beyond the river an unknown tribe somewhere
Is lighting fires and making angry sounds.

We’ll meet tomorrow and determine then
Who is the master over all this land,
They’re aided by the wearing of black stones,
We — by crucifixes on our bare skin.

Here even the trees refuse to grow
As I survey the low hills and dry gullies,
In this desolate land of Sidamo
Where here we’ll store our baggage, there the mules.

I am pleased to think that if we win, —
Many times we’ve won before today, —
From hill to hill to the far horizon
The yellow road will lead us on our way.

If tomorrow the waves of the River Webbe
Swallow my groans of anguish in their roar
In the colorless heavens I will see
The black god’s fierce fight with the god of fire.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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