Letters of Vachel Lindsay

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B. Franklin, 1979 - Poetry - 474 pages
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Lindsay was typecast by his contemporaries as a "jazz poet" an appellation kept alive by his exhausting but financially essential reading tours. This selection of his letters shows his yearning to be a poetic savior, an American original, his instinctive appreciation of the infant movie industry's importance, and the hidden (self-hidden) struggle to escape from the iron hand of his mother. They also reveal the basic shallowness of his intellect and talent, despite a capacity for sensing the new demands made on literature by America and the twentieth century.

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To Susan Wilcox January 4 1903
To the Macmillan Company May 17 1905
To Susan Wilcox August 16 1905

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About the author (1979)

From Springfield, Illinois, Lindsay studied at Hiram College, the Chicago Art Institute, and the New York Art School, turning to poetry only after he had no success as an artist. The appeal of Vachel Lindsay's poetry is, first and foremost, one of sound. Many of his poems are meant to be chanted aloud, intoned, or sung. The poet was a phenomenon in his day, who became famous for the recitation of his poems. He preached a gospel of beauty expressed in almost primitive cadences. His early art studies under Robert Henri gave him the ability to illustrate his own poems, and he developed an elaborate theory of art that has gone largely ignored. Among his best-known works are "General William Booth Enters Heaven", published in Poetry Magazine in 1913, and "The Congo" (1914).

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