Marianne Moore

November 30, 2006

marian.jpg
(1887-1972)

Spent early years in Kirkwood, Missouri in the home of her grandfather, Reverend John R. Warner
Never saw her father, and inventor and manufacturer who suffered a nervous breakdown before her birth
Graduated from Bryn Mawr College and taught in Carlisle Indian School
Corresponded with William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, H.D. and Ezra Pound
Moved to Greenwhich Village and lived in Manhattan or Brooklyn for the rest of her life
Never married and shared her home with her mother until her mother’s death
Edited ‘The Dial’
Poems at first appear eccentrically arranged but the intricacy yields its pattern and meaning to the attentive reader
Interested in varied habits of natural species and man-made objects
Became a popular icon and often threw out the first pitch at Dodger and Yankee baseball games
Told the New York Herald

“I like country fairs, roller-coasters, merry-go-rounds, dog shows, museums, avenues of trees, old elms, vehicles, experiments in timing like our ex-Museum of Science and Invention’s two roller-bearings in a gravity chute, synchronized with a ring-brearing revolving vertically. I am fond of animals and take inordinate interest in mongooses, squirrels, crows, elephants. I read few magazines but would be lost without the newspaper.”

Quotations:

Visible, invisible, / a fluctuating charm / an amber-tinctured amethyst / inhabits it, your arm / approaches and it opens / and it closes; you had meant / to catch it and it quivers; / you abandon your intent.

-A Jelly-Fish (in whole)

wade / through black jade. / Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps / adjusting the ash-heaps; / opening and shutting itself like
an / injured fan. / The barnacles which encrust the side / of the wave, cannot hide / there for the submerged shafts of the
sun, / split like spun / glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness / into the crevices- / in and out, illuminating
the / turquoise sea / of bodies. The water drives a wedge / of iron through the iron edge / of the cliff; whereupon the stars,
pink / rice-grains, ink- / bespattered jelly-fish, crabs like green / lilies, and submarine / toadstools, slide each on the other.
All / external / marks of abuse are present on this / defiant edifice- / all the physical features of / ac- / cident – lack / of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and / hatchet strokes, these things stand / out on it; the chasm-side is
dead / Repeated / evidence has proved that it can live / on what can not revive / its youth. The sea grows old in it.

-The Fish (in whole)

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