BI. Amy Lowell

Pulitzer Prize for poetry, 1926. What’s O’clock with and without the rare early dust jacket.

12. What’s O’clock. Edited by Ada Dwyer Russell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925.

Published posthumously. Reprints Twenty-Four Hokku on a Modern Theme (11) and includes The Anniversary, a second poem of twenty-four three-line stanzas in the 5-7-5 syllable pattern of the hokku, though like the former work the poem does not make use of Japanese subjects. Schwartz (28) believes these poems ‘reveal more Japanese influence’ than Lowell’s earlier work, ‘since the adoption of a foreign form . . . surely marks a deeper, more vital influence’ than ‘mere poetical interpretation’ of foreign subjects. The point may on first glance seem accurate, but one should remember that the ‘form’ of classical Japanese poetry includes much more than a set syllabic pattern, and that if that alone is carried into English the ‘adoption of . . . foreign form’ is shallow indeed. Few would claim that a fourteen-line poem in Japanese had necessarily ‘adopted the form’ of the sonnet. Much of Lowell’s earlier incorporation of Japanese subjects makes more insightful use of more engaging material, and the ‘deeper, more vital’ influence from the country may be found there. Miner (A25) notes the use throughout this collection of Pound’s technique of super-position (see BK12). The volume was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Both Twenty-Four Hokku and The Anniversary are reprinted in 17. See also 26.





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