Marianne Moore and Harriet Monroe: The Poet, The Critic, and Poetry

Marianne Moore Harriet

Exhibition curated by Honora Bartlett, Exhibition Researcher.

A revealing glimpse at the artistic and critical tensions between Marianne Moore, the poet, and Harriet Monroe, critic and founding editor of the Chicago-based Poetry magazine, this exhibition also celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. Harriet Monroe founded Poetry in 1912 to provide a lifeline for others like herself-serious poets with little chance of being published-who were hungry for an audience, and the authority of paid publication. Though the magazine was not an immediate commercial success, the great poets did come. Ezra Pound appeared in the very first issue, and within a few years Poetry had introduced T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore-some of the most important figures of twentieth-century poetry-to American readers. A scrupulously polite correspondence began between Moore and Monroe shortly after Moore's poems first appeared in the magazine in 1915 and continued for twenty years until Monroe's death.

This private correspondence, along with public debates staged in the pages of Poetry combine in the exhibit to reveal the active critical, sometimes hostile, and habitually brilliant world in which Moore came of age as a poet. Successive drafts of Moore's work show how this critical process was deeply involved in self-criticism and revision. This exhibition is drawn from the Poetry Magazine Papers (1912-1960), The Harriet Monroe Modern Poetry Little Magazine Collection, and the Modern Poerty Collection in the Department of Special Collections, The University of Chicago Library. The exhibition is curated and written by Honora Bartlett, free-lance writer and literary critic.