Harriet Monroe Founds Poetry Magazine (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Poet Harriet Monroe, the founder and editor of Poetry, played a critical role in the renaissance and development of modern American poetry.
Summary of Event
When she established Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in 1912, Harriet Monroe chose as the journal’s motto a line from Walt Whitman: “To have great poets we must have great audiences too.” She was dismayed that of all the arts in America, poetry received the least attention, and she maintained that American poets suffered from having no outlet for their work. The main outlets of the day were The Atlantic, Harper’s, and Scribner’s magazines; these, however, were publishing only the most conventional verse. Monroe called the poems in the current American press “piles of rubbish” and warned that American poetry was losing vitality. Not that great poets did not exist: “A Milton might be living in Chicago today and be unable to find an outlet for his verse,” she announced in the Chicago Tribune on the eve of publishing the first issue of Poetry.
Monroe, herself a modestly successful poet, stated that the aim for her magazine would be to develop a public “interested in poetry as art.” Charming and strong-willed, she deeply believed in the importance of poetry. She intended to provide her fellow poets with a forum and a place to share their work. Most important, she aimed to correct...
(The entire section is 2423 words.)
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