In keeping with the principle of restraint that she espoused throughout her career, Moore did not presume to have any extraordinary vision; critics and fellow poets have disagreed. James Dickey, an American poet and Moore’s contemporary, believes that her poetry reached new conclusions. She accomplished this by weaving together particulars that people see but do not understand. To Dickey, her poetry presented moments of perception to renew the spirit.
Moore explored the nature of paradox. She insisted on strong values; determination and independence permeate all of her poems. She practiced the restraint that enables strong values to develop, devising new forms of poetic technique and constantly reworking to pare down to the simple yet elegant image and line.
The relaxation in Marianne Craig Moore’s later verse and the rise of public acclaim demonstrate that late in her life the poetic self that had begun in a reticence that approached diffidence, that had armored itself as much against temptation from within as against threat from without, had burst through its early encasements to take on the role of moralist and even of sociopolitical adviser. A degree of tolerance for the self and the world perhaps made her choices easier, although it did not always benefit her art.
Moore seems to have had an inborn disdain for the self-indulgent. After a girlhood in Missouri and Pennsylvania and an education at Bryn Mawr College, she taught commercial subjects at the United States...
(The entire section is 645 words.)
Probably most biographical sources on Marianne Craig Moore include the facts that T. S. Eliot was also born in St. Louis (Kirkwood is a St. Louis suburb) about ten months after Moore, that his father and her grandfather were both ministers, and that both became important figures in very different schools of poetry: Moore did much to promote new American poetry in the 1920’s; Eliot revamped past poets’ reputations. Their paths eventually crossed, and Eliot wrote the introduction for her Selected Poems, a volume which stabilized her reputation as an important new poet.
Moore was much influenced by close family ties. When her father suffered a nervous breakdown, she and her brother John moved with their...
(The entire section is 660 words.)
Marianne Craig Moore was born in her maternal grandfather’s home in Kirkwood, near St. Louis, Missouri, on November 15, 1887. She never knew her father, an engineer and inventor, because earlier that same year he suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to an institution. Her mother, Mary Warner Moore, and brother John then moved to Kirkwood to live with Marianne’s grandfather, the Reverend John Riddle Warner, a Presbyterian minister.
Moore spent her first seven years in an affectionate, close-knit environment. Her grandfather and her mother encouraged serious reading and a tolerant attitude toward diverse religious beliefs. They both believed in the education of women. From her mother, she learned a verbal...
(The entire section is 1205 words.)