Her education at the progressive, all-female Bryn Mawr College was a crucial experience. It led her to begin writing in a serious way. It introduced her, through the campus journal, to the roles of editor and mentor. Those four years also tested her psychologically, helped her to learn what kind of life would let her be the writer she wanted to be. For four years, she was in crisis, thrilled by independence, crushed by homesickness. In the end, feeling her mother could not do without her, she opted to return to the nest.
But in reality, need met need. Home brought certainties that Moore depended on, and within its close quarters, she carved out through poetry, a private creative space. To many modern eyes, the situation is perverse. Leavell, wisely, suspends full judgment. Every aspect of Modernism — literature, music, art, film — seized her interest.
And this interest made New York a natural destination. In , Moore and her mother moved to Greenwich Village, settling in a basement apartment so cramped that they ate meals while perched on the edge of the bathtub. But despite discomforts, New York was where they belonged, and they knew it. And here, in Ms. Thanks to a few earlier reconnaissance missions within the local avant-garde, and by the appearance of her poems in magazines, she arrived in New York with a reputation.
Holding on Upside Down: the Life and Work of Marianne Moore, by Linda Leavell
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Yet as much as Marianne longed to accept the invitation, she could not consider leaving her mother even for a summer. Just a few months after receiving H. The Others contributors often met, he said, to socialize and talk about poetry. The Moores could not at the time afford clothes for both to go, and so the mother refused the invitation for herself but splurged on a new coat for her daughter. Kreymborg was in turn surprised by Marianne.
With the onset of winter he moved to 29 Bank Street, where he both published Others and continued to host parties. Was there, Marianne inquired, to be such a party while she was there? He was not sure, since both he and his wife had been sick. But he invited her home to supper if she would be willing to accompany him on an errand on the way.
On their way to the Village, Marianne encountered her first actual bohemian. Marianne in turn told what she knew of H. It was possible, she saw, to live among artists and writers without adopting a bohemian lifestyle. It was the first of many poems she wrote over the course of her career about freedom, both personal and political. She stayed in the Village with two friends who ran Varick House, a Presbyterian boardinghouse for working girls.
Marianne had known Laura and William, who were slightly older than herself, since childhood. Though she had seen little of William in recent years, he had achieved enviable success as a poet.
Holding on Upside Down: the Life and Work of Marianne Moore, by Linda Leavell - Telegraph
By the time Marianne visited New York, he had published two volumes of poetry and had appeared so often in The Century that the magazine hired him as an editor. It was hard on Marianne that The Masses , known for its revolutionary politics, accepted poems by William and Laura but rejected her own. Although Poetry had introduced Imagism two years before the first issue of Others appeared, Others was the first of the little magazines to devote itself exclusively to experimental poetry. Despite its small circulation and as yet unknown contributors—such as T.
Eliot, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams—it received much attention in the press, mostly in the form of amused ridicule. Kerfoot of Life magazine and W. Braithwaite of the Boston Evening Transcript , took Others at all seriously. Despite initial apprehensions on both sides, Marianne and William soon recovered their old friendliness, and it pleased Marianne that he showed as much interest as he did in Others and the new poetry. The notices by Kerfoot and Braithwaite, she decided, had made the conservatives nervous.
The conservatives had little to worry about. They would prevail in the popular anthologies and magazines until after World War II. During the course of her ten days in New York, Marianne did return to Although Stieglitz had no new art to show her, he introduced her to J.
Kerfoot, with whom Marianne held her own discussing the current state of literary criticism. She stood her ground there, too, in assessing the current exhibit of paintings and tapestries by William and Marguerite Zorach. The Zorachs contributed poems to Others and later designed covers for it.
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Over the next few years her work received praise from both sides of the Atlantic. In a review, H. What these poet-critics chiefly admired was her bold departure from sentimentality. Appreciation for her formal innovations would come later. When an acquaintance asked if she were considering a move to New York, she replied that nothing could be further from her thoughts.
Her foremost concern at the time was to persuade her elder brother, Warner, to live with her mother and herself.