Mary Barnard, American Imagist

by Sarah Barnsley

State University of New York Press | July 2, 2014 | Trade Paperback

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Perhaps best known for her outstanding translation of Sappho, poet Mary Barnard (1909-2001) has until recently received little attention for her own work. In this book, Sarah Barnsley examines Barnard's poetry and poetics in the light of her plentiful correspondence with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and others. Presenting Barnard as a "late Imagist," Barnsley links Barnard's search for a poetry grounded in native speech to efforts within American modernism for new forms in the American grain. Barnsley finds that where Pound and Williams began the campaign for a modern poetry liberated from the "heave" of the iambic pentameter, Barnard completed it through a "spare but musical" aesthetic derived from her studies of Greek metric and American speech rhythms, channeled through materials drawn direct from the American local. The first book on Barnard, and the first to draw on the Barnard archives at Yale's Beinecke Library, Mary Barnard, American Imagist unearths a fascinating and previously untold chapter of twentieth-century American poetry.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 196 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 in

Published: July 2, 2014

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1438448562

ISBN - 13: 9781438448565

Found in: Literary Theory and Criticism

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Mary Barnard, American Imagist

Mary Barnard, American Imagist

by Sarah Barnsley

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 196 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 in

Published: July 2, 2014

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1438448562

ISBN - 13: 9781438448565

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Chronology

1. “Spare But Musical”: The Poetry of Mary Barnard

2. Late Imagism

2.1 “The Only Really Worthwhile Piece of Poetry Criticism I Had Ever Read”: Pound’s Imagism
2.2 Barnard’s Imagist Local
2.3 “Sand Is the Beginning and the End/Of Our Dominion”: Barnard, H.D., and the Gender of Imagism
2.4 “We Can’t Get to the World Hard Enough or Fast Enough… We Just Must Write”: Barnard, Williams, and American Imagism

3. “A Would-Be Sappho”

3.1 Sappho and the Imagists
3.2 Barnard’s Sapphic Imagism
3.3 Barnard’s Sapphic-American Modernism

4. “A New Way of Measuring Verse”

4.1 Barnard and Pound: An ABC of Metrics
4.2 The Weighted Syllable
4.3 “A Well-Conceived Form within which Modification May Exist”: Barnard, Williams, and the Question of American Measure
4.4 “An Idiom AND a Swing”: Sappho: A New Translation

5. “A Bright Particular Excellence”: The Achievement of Mary Barnard

Epilogue: The Mary Barnard Papers: A Note

Notes
Bibliography
Index

From the Publisher

Perhaps best known for her outstanding translation of Sappho, poet Mary Barnard (1909-2001) has until recently received little attention for her own work. In this book, Sarah Barnsley examines Barnard's poetry and poetics in the light of her plentiful correspondence with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and others. Presenting Barnard as a "late Imagist," Barnsley links Barnard's search for a poetry grounded in native speech to efforts within American modernism for new forms in the American grain. Barnsley finds that where Pound and Williams began the campaign for a modern poetry liberated from the "heave" of the iambic pentameter, Barnard completed it through a "spare but musical" aesthetic derived from her studies of Greek metric and American speech rhythms, channeled through materials drawn direct from the American local. The first book on Barnard, and the first to draw on the Barnard archives at Yale's Beinecke Library, Mary Barnard, American Imagist unearths a fascinating and previously untold chapter of twentieth-century American poetry.

About the Author

Sarah Barnsley is Lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Editorial Reviews

"Clearly structured and elegantly written, Mary Barnard, American Imagist far exceeds any act of routine scholarly 'recovery.' In addition to giving full recognition to Barnard's superb skills as a translator of Sappho, Sarah Barnsley also makes a convincing case for her original poetic output and for her contribution to the evolution of American free verse." - Peter Nicholls, author of Modernisms: A Literary Guide, Second Edition