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Or all the persons that I knew, Psyche had, I believe, the fewest prejudices, and, keen as she was in getting at the very essence of things, she seemed bewildered by some of our modern poets. She was in this, typical of a great number of people; many who did not have her excuse for not liking this new work; people who ranged from college professors through critics and poets themselves, down to the average citizen. It was a clear case of prejudice with most; with a few a matter of not understanding. Psyche did not understand much of the free verse, the vers libre, or modern poetry, whichever one chooses to call it. She merely had her feelings and sympathies, and preferred to keep an open road of conviction for each. I agreed with her that a great deal of this new work was not genuine. The test of what was genuine in it was the fact that the poets who were genuine would, and could, make the same impression on critical appreciation if they wrote in the regular forms. It was, in fact, I stated, only those poets who had shown their command of formal metres who succeeded in proving that vers libre was really not formless, and an ade

quate medium for expressing every mood of life. What I had quoted from Arthur Colton's article"What Do We Mean By Poetry?" in the Unpopular Review, the other week, had made its impression upon my companions, and especially upon Psyche, who became more tolerant towards the new work. I had also explained the meaninglessness of names, by calling to her attention the change that had come over the "new" poetry, which preceded in popularity the advent of the Imagists and the later radicalism of Mr. Kreymborg and his associates.

This group of poets, which included Mr. Oppenheim and Mr. Untermeyer as the chief exponents of the "social conscience," was as violently opposed to the past as the later innovators, yet today, and only in the space of two or three years, their passion for newness of thought and expression has tamed considerably in public opinion. The poets themselves, I noted, are much more important merely as poets, weavers and makers of music and beauty, and the future promises fine and vital things from them, but they can no more startle us as iconoclasts, because their individual power has made their methods perfectly rational and proper. We have got used to their philosophy of revolt, which has certainly stirred up sympathies, but what attracts us is the ritual of art by which it is conducted while the doctrine becomes an appendage. "What is generally misunderstood," I said, "is the fact that it is not so much the form but the changing views of life


and experience which have brought about this new phase in American poetry. Mr. Untermeyer, when he so passionately preaches the gospel of new' poetry, doesn't mean the art at all; he is preaching the gospel of a new social life. So is Edgar Lee Masters a new democracy through his ironic delineations of the dead inhabitants of Spoon River; Robert Frost gives a new interpretation of the spirit beneath the tragic surfaces of New England life; and Amy Lowell shapes new crystals of emotion from the imaginative life of modern civilization. It is substance that counts in each and every one of these poets, and it is only substance that will keep alive the form, no matter whether it is the conventional rhythms of Edwin Arlington Robinson and Amelia Josephine Burr, or the free, unconventional cadences of James Oppenheim and Alfred Kreymborg."

We were walking up the Derry Road during this conversation, and reached our turning-in path just as I finished. There we stood a while to admire the landscape that spread below us in the intervale. "I know every figure in that sweep of landscape," exclaimed Psyche, with affection in her voice, and as if the sight suggested some vague comparison to her mind.

"Full of images, isn't it?" I hazarded an understanding of her thought.

"Yes; but so unified, so balanced, in their irregularity," she half consciously murmured.

"What do you mostly gather from the senseimpression of the scene?" I asked. “You see

those fields, and at this distance you know the hay is being mown, and though you are too far away for the wind to bring the scent of new mown hay, still you can smell it. A kind of scent ' in recollection'; so it is with all your other senses except sight. You see the landscape of the intervale stretched before you for miles, and yet you know all its life intimately by the response of your senses to memory and recollection. And how are you memorified, if I may use the word; isn't it by some current into which your mind swings by associated experience? Yes," I pulled myself out of the involutions of my suggestions, "the cadence of that scene magnetizes your spirit. It is regular and orderly in spite of that view being but a succession and collection of images to your sight."

Psyche, who had apparently been dreaming over her beloved intervale, woke up with a kind of start. "Oh, you mean," she said sharply, almost breathlessly" that is that what this free verse means?

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"Not what the free verse means," I corrected; "but what the substance of free verse, or any verse, means. Why just an ether of suggestions and meanings, of wonderful and beautiful emotions, behind the haze and veil of sense. Every sense is evocative and intuitional. Mysticism and wonder are the vital nerves which connect the outer world of reality with the inner world of spirit. Does it matter how the substance is shaped so long as it is given a being?"

She turned and led the way down our path, and came to the temple pine some minutes before the rest of us. When we came up to her and found our places, she informed us with simple conviction, "I've worked it out, I think; perhaps my prejudice has stood in the way. It seems perfectly natural when you look at it from that angle, but I think these poets have confused the whole matter by drawing superfine distinctions. I can take no stock of their aims; I must simply be satisfied with the measure of their beauty and magic; of the degree to which, with experience they increase, the solaces and enjoyment of life."

"We ask no more nor less from other poets," Jason remarked.

"Exactly," I agreed. "And accordingly you have found Mr. Arensberg a poet of exceptional attainments. One of the most subtle craftsmen in American poetry. A poet with a mind alluringly symbolic. With a touch of prismatic irony. Carving and polishing ivory and jade; chiselling marble, sardonyx and beryl. He works with a cool, undisturbed severity of mood on one occasion, and on another with a hot, passionate idealism. He can, as he shows in his rendering of the Fifth Canto' of 'The Inferno,' translate Dante better in his original rhyme and metre than any American living, and has pierced farther into the symbolism of Mallarmé, as his translation of 'L'Après-midi d'un Faune' proves."

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