Feb 12, 2009

What I Hope to Work On - Part 2

Here’s some more articles I want to get to. These also directly concern Winters as poet or critic:


11. poets.org has twice featured a piece on Hart Crane and Yvor Winters by a writer named Tom Donnelly, whom I do not know. The short essay first was posted in 2006, but was reposted as a lead article for the site again recently. I need to give that piece some attention, particularly since it is distinctly favors Crane’s wild and woolly poetics to the disparagement of Winters’s classicism. But maybe I’ve got a few things to learn. We’ll see.

12. David Orr, a poetry critic of some renown (meaning in literary culture), reviewed Thom Gunn’s Selected Poems of Winters, briefly, in the New York Times some years ago (2002, I think). I’d like to take a look at the last look at Winters’s poetry in a national publication.

13. In a small journal named Gulf Coast, some poet named Kathleen Osip wrote about Winters as being a symbol of all that she is against as a member of the avant garde. This piece came out in 2006. It was an amusing essay that deserves a look, as genially negative as it is toward Winters’s art and ideas. (The photo if a shot of a pond in a Michigan woodlot. It is purely decorative, and, thus, an artistic weakness, do you think?)

14. A couple years ago, there was a piece on Hart Crane and Winters in Poetry (the 11/06 issue). I surely have to get to that soon.

15. Issue 3 of the now-defunct Canadian journal New Compass, from several years ago, was the journal’s "Yvor Winters Issue." It contained several insightful essays that I have yet to discuss here. I believe that the issue is still posted online. Sadly, the New Compass has ceased publication. Its editors have moved on to other matters. Though it published only four issues in the early 2000s, it offered an array of fine criticism and commentary in addition to its work in studying Yvor Winters.

16. Jan Schreiber, a poet and reviewer, wrote on Winters some years back in an essay entitled “The Absolutist.” As near as I can tell, this piece is a review of the poetry and criticism of Winters. It was published in the online journal Contemporary Poetry Review in 2004. I still need to get my hands on the piece and discuss it.

17. In the journal Literary Imagination, William Edinger, unknown to me, published an essay entitled “Yvor Winters and Generality: A Classical/Neoclassical Perspective.” The piece looks at some features of literary generality in the poetry and criticism of Yvor Winters through the language and methods of classical and neoclassical criticism. That sounds worthwhile, if a little stuffy.

18. A good 10 years ago, poet Alan Shapiro published a memoir essay, entitled “Fanatics,” on his attraction to the critical principles of Yvor Winters. I’ve mentioned the essay a couple times, but I really want to give it a close look at some point.

19. I haven’t found the time to get to Stanford Magazine’s short articles on Yvor Winters at the time of the centenary of his birth (2000). One was by Ken Fields, another -- a scathing attack on Winters’s teaching methods -- by Richard Elman. On VHS, I also have a couple of the talks given during the event (one by Dana Gioia, for example). These might be nice to discuss.

20. Finally, some journal going by the name of RALPH published an amusing piece on the worst poetry of 2003. Yvor Winters’s Selected Poems was chosen as the honoree. I would like to give that short piece the once over some time.


These are the writings I know about. Please let me know of other writings on Winters that you know of, and I will add them to my list of duties. Or you can write something for this blog yourself.

In a post to come soon, I will list writings that are in some way closely related to Winters poetry or criticism.


Capt. Donald Kilpela Sr. said...

Obviously Winters stirred people's emotions to the max. Reminds me of a scathing attack on T.S.Eliot in The New Yorker on the occasion of the 101st anniversary of his birth. The critic (can't remember her name) chose the 101st apparently to get the last word. Enjoy your blog.

Ben Kilpela said...

I remember the attack on Eliot well. It was for his alleged, or should I say confirmed, anti-semitism. But Winters and Eliot have hardly been alone. Ezra Pound has long been the object of attacks, for his committment to fascism. Robert Lowell also came in for a few attacks, in his case for personal behavior, a decade ago. And poet Philip Larkin has also come in for some hostility for his private views on certain matters. Such a list could go on. Winters still arouses a lot of antipathy whenever he comes up, which is extremely seldom. But some few writers do feel that because he is no longer a threat of any sort, they can treat him like a kindly old sourpuss, an amusing crank. I guess I have a soft spot for cranks and curmudgeons myself. Also, Winters suffered a couple of scathing attacks for his alleged politics in his lifetime. A number of critics and poets thought that he was some sort of political ultra-conservative because of his literary classicism. But Winters was a political liberal, as near as anyone can tell. He even earned a lifetime membership in the NAACP, which has been a liberal cause in general, though, of course, it has been supported by some conservatives as well. Thanks for the comment.