Alex Jackinson, Letter to Stanton A. Coblentz and Doctor Earl Byrd, January 13

Mr. Coblentz. As a reader of Wings, I am familiar with your oft-repeated stand. You are an uncompromising traditionalist who believes passionately in rhymed, orderly, classical verse. You invoke the Gods to bring back “Shelly and Blake and Milton, Poe and Keats”. Well, who could object? But who knows in what vein the Old Masters would interpret our unique, glitteringly appealing and repellent guys-and-dolls age?

Poetry – living, not museum-piece poetry, must reflect the period in which it is written. War and chaos have plagued the world for quite a long time, but each epoch creates its own special pulse-beat for the artists to interpret. cummings did not create the past thirty years – that frighteningly raucous, speakeasy-nightclub, kiss me daddy eight to the bar, jazz-blues era. If our Freud-fraud, skyscraper-billboard-ad period is to reflect itself in poetry (and why shouldn’t it be?) the jangled idioms of cummings and [Kenneth] Fearing are better suited for it than the more sedate, traditional forms.


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