Marianne Moore

*** Happy Birthday Marianne Moore ***

She was an American Modernist poet and writer noted for her irony and wit.

Moore came to the attention of poets as diverse as Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, H.D., T. S. Eliot, Mina Loy, and Ezra Pound beginning with her first publication in 1915. From 1925 until 1929, Moore served as editor of the literary and cultural journal The Dial. This continued her role, similar to that of Pound, as a patron of poetry; much later, she encouraged promising young poets, including Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, John Ashbery and James Merrill.

n 1933, Moore was awarded the Helen Haire Levinson Prize by Poetry. Her Collected Poems of 1951 is perhaps her most rewarded work; it earned the poet the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, and the Bollingen Prize. Moore became a minor celebrity in New York literary circles. She attended boxing matches, baseball games and other public events, dressed in what became her signature garb, a tricorn hat and a black cape. She particularly liked athletics and was a great admirer of Muhammad Ali, for whose spoken-word album, I Am the Greatest!, she wrote liner notes. Moore continued to publish poems in various journals, including The Nation, The New Republic, and Partisan Review, as well as publishing various books and collections of her poetry and criticism.

Her most famous poem is perhaps the one entitled, appropriately, “Poetry”, in which she hopes for poets who can produce “imaginary gardens with real toads in them.” It also expressed her idea that meter, or anything else that claims the exclusive title “poetry”, is not as important as delight in language and precise, heartfelt expression in any form. She often composed her own poetry in syllabics.

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