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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 13. July 17, 1952

American Poetry

American Poetry

Sir,-I wish to thank "Salient" for the lengthy report of my address to the Literary Society on American Poetry, and also your reporter. "B.D." for the unenviable task of having to render down to "Salient'-size the mass of facts I presented. My method of trying to squeeze as much as possible into the alloted time must have made it difficult to report. As, however, one or two critical readers may hold one or two errors of fact against me, I should like to make a few adjustments:—

Harriet Monroe founded Poetry Chicago—not Ezra Pound, who was its first European editor. Pound was guest editor (as far as I know) of only one special issue of the Catholic Review. Hart Crane's "The Bridge" I saw as an allegorical pathway to last Atlantis rather than heaven, as the report states.

I did, and do not, think that MacLeish stood alone as a satirist during the 30's; nor would I care to go on record as finding that Cumming's poems swarl all over the page without maintaining their solid virtues. Cummings is also a painter, and the shape of his verse of the page is important to him. American poets hardly "sought refuge in neutrality but I think that their remoteness in 1939-40, from the scene of action, allowed them space of time in which to get a perspective.

I hope that these corrections do not seem too carping, but it is as well to make them.

Louis Johnson.

[Mr. Johnson mentions the "Literary Society." Many people have made the error of calling this small group of people Interested in the study of literature the "Literary Society." This group was organised from the remainder of various, similar groups extant last year by a member of the English department staff. It is not the Literary Society affiliated or Incorporated in the Students' Association as it has not held an A.G.M. and elected officers.—Ed.]