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American poetry is a great literature, and it has come to its maturity only in the last seventy years; Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson in the last century were rare examples of genius in a hostile environment. One decade gave America the major figures of our modern poetry: Wallace Stevens was born in 1879, and T. S. Eliot in 1888. To the ten years that these dates enclose belong H. D., Robinson Jeffers, John Crowe Ransom, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, and Marianne Moore.

Marianne Moore.began to publish during the First World War. She was printed and praised in Europe by the expatriates T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. In Chicago, Harriet Monroe’s magazinePoetry,which provided the enduring showcase for the new poetry, published her too. But she was mainly a poet of New York, of the Greenwich Village group which created magazines called其他andBroom

To visit Marianne Moore at her home in Brooklyn, you had to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, turn left at Myrtle Avenue, follow the elevated for a mile or two, and then turn right onto her street. It was pleasantly lined with a few trees, and Miss Moore’s apartment was conveniently near a grocery store and the Presbyterian church that she attended.

The interview took place in November 1960, the day before the presidential election. The front door of Miss Moore’s apartment opened onto a long narrow corridor. Rooms led off to the right, and at the end of the corridor was a large sitting room that overlooked the street. On top of a bookcase that ran the length of the corridor was a Nixon button.

摩尔和面试官小姐坐在她坐着room, a microphone between them. Piles of books stood everywhere. On the walls hung a variety of paintings. One came from Mexico, a gift of Mabel Dodge; others were examples of the heavy, tea-colored oils that Americans hung in the years before 1914. The furniture was old-fashioned and dark.

Miss Moore spoke with an accustomed scrupulosity, and with a humor that her readers will recognize. When she ended a sentence with a phrase that was particularly telling, or even tart, she glanced quickly at the interviewer to see if he was amused, and then snickered gently. Later Miss Moore took the interviewer to an admirable lunch at a nearby restaurant. She decided not to wear her Nixon button because it clashed with her coat and hat.

INTERVIEWER

摩尔小姐,我知道哟u were born in St. Louis only about ten months before T. S. Eliot. Did your families know each other?

MARIANNE MOORE

不,我们不知道Eliots。我们住在密苏里州的Kirkwood,我的祖父是第一个长老教堂的牧师。T.艾略特祖父博士。威廉艾略特 - 是一个联合国人。当我大约七岁时,我们祖父于2月20日在1894年去世时离开了。我的祖父就像艾略特博士一样,在圣路易斯参加了部长级会议。此外,在规定的间隔,各部长也会满足午餐。在其中一个午餐之一后,我的祖父说:“威廉·埃里奥特博士们问祝福并说,”这是我们以我们主耶稣基督的名义问道,“他对我来说足够了三位主义。”对于女孩来说,玛丽研究所被他赋予他女儿玛丽的纪念,他已经死了。

INTERVIEWER

你开始写诗的时候多大了?

MOORE

Well, let me see, in Bryn Mawr. I think I was eighteen when I entered Bryn Mawr. I was born in 1887, I entered college in 1906. Now, how old would I have been? Can you deduce my probable age?

INTERVIEWER

Eighteen or nineteen.

MOORE

I had no literary plans, but I was interested in the undergraduate monthly magazine, and to my surprise (I wrote one or two little things for it) the editors elected me to the board. It was my sophomore year—I am sure it was—and I stayed on, I believe. And then when I had left college I offered contributions (we weren’t paid) to theLantern,alumnae杂志。但我没有觉得我的产品是为了撼动世界的任何东西。

INTERVIEWER

诗歌在什么时候诗歌成为世界震撼?

MOORE

绝不!我相信我对绘画感兴趣。至少我这么说。我记得Otis Skinner夫人询问开始时间,我毕业的那一年,“你想做什么?”

“A painter,” I said.

“Well, I’m not surprised,” Mrs. Skinner answered. I had something on that she liked, some kind of summer dress. She commended it—said, “I’m not at all surprised.”

I like stories. I like fiction. And—this sounds rather pathetic, bizarre as well—I think verse perhaps was for me the next best thing to it. Didn’t I write something one time, “Part of a Poem, Part of a Novel, Part of a Play”? I think I was all too truthful. I could visualize scenes, and deplored the fact that Henry James had to do it unchallenged. Now, if I couldn’t write fiction, I’d like to write plays. To me the theater is the most pleasant, in fact my favorite, form of recreation.

INTERVIEWER

你经常去吗?

MOORE

No. Never. Unless someone invites me. Lillian Hellman invited me toToys in the Attic,我很高兴她做了。如果我没有见过这伙伴,我会没有对物品的活力概念,忽视了她作为作家的技能;我想再去了。白话的准确性!这是我对我感兴趣的那种东西,我总是取下很少的地方表达和口音。我想我应该在一些理论经营或企业​​中,对方言和内蒙古非常感兴趣。我几乎想到了我所谓的诗歌。

INTERVIEWER

I wonder what Bryn Mawr meant for you as a poet. You write that most of your time there was spent in the biological laboratory. Did you like biology better than literature as a subject for study? Did the training possibly affect your poetry?

MOORE

I had hoped to make French and English my major studies, and took the required two-year English course—five hours a week—but was not able to elect a course until my junior year. I did not attain the requisite academic stand of eighty until that year. I then elected seventeenth-century imitative writing—Fuller, Hooker, Bacon, Bishop Andrewes, and others. Lectures in French were in French, and I had had no spoken French.

Did laboratory studies affect my poetry? I am sure they did. I found the biology courses—minor, major, and histology— exhilarating. I thought, in fact, of studying medicine. Precision, economy of statement, logic employed to ends that are disinterested, drawing and identifying, liberate—at least have some bearing on—the imagination, it seems to me.

INTERVIEWER

Whom did you know in the literary world, before you came to New York? Did you know Bryher and H. D.?

MOORE

It’s very hard to get these things seriatim. I met Bryher in 1921 in New York. H. D. was my classmate at Bryn Mawr. She was there, I think, only two years. She was a nonresident and I did not realize that she was interested in writing.

INTERVIEWER

Did you know Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams through her? Didn’t she know them at the University of Pennsylvania?

MOORE

Yes. She did. I didn’t meet them. I had met no writers until 1916, when I visited New York, when a friend in Carlisle wanted me to accompany her.