May Swenson The Centaur Essay

May Swenson The Centaur Essay-65
She moved to New York City in the 1930s and in 1959 she began working at New Directions Press, the modernist publishing house founded by James Laughlin.

She moved to New York City in the 1930s and in 1959 she began working at New Directions Press, the modernist publishing house founded by James Laughlin.Swenson is considered one of mid-century America’s foremost poets; her typographic innovations and exuberance earned comparisons to e.e.

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She received an honorary degree from Utah State University as well as their Distinguished Service Gold Medal.

Swenson was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1980-1989.

Often her way is to define things, but the definitions have a stealthy trend; what she chooses and the way she progresses heap upon the reader a consistent, incremental effect.” Swenson’s ability to draw out the metaphysical implications of the material world were widely commented on; but she was also known for her lighthearted, even joyous, take on life in decades characterized by febrile “confessional” verse.

Riddles, chants, and calligrams—experiments in typography and layout—dot Swenson’s oeuvre.

Swenson’s poetry was widely praised for its precise and beguiling imagery, and for the quality of its personal and imaginative observations.

Taking inspiration from daily events, ordinary rituals, and the natural world, Swenson revealed “the larger, warmer energies of earth,” according to poet Richard Howard.

“Flying Home from Utah” A fascinating consideration of perception.

The passenger in the plane looks down upon the landscape below and imagines herself as a giant towering over the people below while the people on the ground view the jet made by tiny distance as an tiny bug.

Reviewing the calligraphic poem, spatial forms, imagist and surreal forms—all the heritage of the early years of the century—being used with such ease and unselfconsciousness.” Swenson herself wrote that the experience of poetry is “based in a craving to get through the curtains of things as they This ambition involves a paradox: an instinctive belief in the senses as exquisite tools for this investigation and, at the same time, a suspicion about their crudeness.” Swenson also noted: “The poet, tracing the edge of a great shadow whose outline shifts and varies, proving there is an invisible moving source of light behind, hopes (naively, in view of his ephemerality) to reach and touch the foot of that solid whatever-it-is that casts the shadow.

If sometimes it seems he does touch it, it is only to be faced with a more distant, even less accessible mystery.


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