Ransom, Rebel, Rogers, &c.
WHO: The Un-Gyve Limited Group
RANSOM: The Collected Poems of John Crowe Ransom edited by Ben Mazer
John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974), poet, critic, and teacher was born in Pulaski, Tennessee. He entered Vanderbilt University at the age of fifteen, received his undergraduate degree in 1909, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, and crowned his academic career at Kenyon College where he founded and edited the Kenyon Review. His criticism – The New Criticism – was revered and feared. His poems are at once ancient and modern while never modernist (T.S. Eliot: “I have probably a higher opinion of your verse than you have of mine”). They won high esteem and deep delight for their fineness, their humor, their individuality of manner and movement, and their unforced poignancy. Poems About God (1919), Chills and Fever (1924), and Two Gentlemen in Bonds (1927) led in due course to his Selected Poems (1947), of which the revised reissue was to win the National Book Award in Poetry in 1964.
Robert Graves: “The sort of poetry which, because it is too good, has to be brushed aside as a literary novelty”.
Howard Nemerov: “His verse is in the best sense ‘private’, the judgment upon the world of one man who could not, properly speaking, be imitated”.
Robert Lowell: “so many lyrics that one wants to read over and over”.
So many? But there exists a greater yield than was preserved by Ransom himself. For the poet, in a fierce act of purgation, force-slimmed his poems to 68 pages. Selected with a vengeance. Presented here now is the first-ever complete edition of the poems of John Crowe Ransom, restoring to the world – in the name not of mercy but of justice – a great many poems that he himself had once (and quite rightly) judged perfectly worthy of publication, poems that, joining now his select poems, will enjoy a renaissance.
Ben Mazer was born in New York City in 1964, and now lives in Boston, Massachusetts. His poems have been widely published in international literary periodicals, including Verse, Stand, Leviathan Quarterly, Harvard Magazine, Jacket Magazine, Fulcrum, Pequod, The Boston Phoenix, Thumbscrew and Agenda. He is a contributing editor to Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics. His first collection of poems, White Cities, was published by Barbara Matteau Editions in 1995. His most recent collections of poems are Poems (The Pen & Anvil Press) and January 2008 (Dark Sky Books), both published in April 2010. His edition of Ransom’s poems was effected at the Editorial Institute, Boston University.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery has said of Mazer’s work: “Like fragments of old photographs happened on in a drawer, these poems tap enigmatic bits of the past that suddenly come to life again. To read him is to follow him along a dreamlike corridor where everything is beautiful and nothing is as it seems.”
REBEL: On a Sunday afternoon in August, August the 9th, 1964, a day that celebrated the 69th birthday of Dr. Louis Lewis culminated in the catch of a lifetime. Dr. Lewis, aboard the Rebel with his sons Dr. Clyde Lewis, captain of the 25-foot fiber-glass boat, and Wright Lewis, the angler who made the catch, along with Ted Belastock and Al Nemrow, had to be tied down and positioned to help balance the boat against the tuna that "weighed a fantastic 784 pounds, and measured 9 feet long, with a 79-inch girth." WHAT A FISH!.
RED CARPET: In the 1900s Sicilian born Mario Scardino is New England’s leading independent bootlegger, operating stills throughout the Boston area, supplying and distributing for the Kennedy family, and running a Boston speakeasy. After prohibition he takes over the old Del Rio restaurant and opens the famed Red Carpet in Quincy with Geraldine DiBona Scardino.
REFLECTIONS & RAMBLINGS: WILLIAM ALLINGHAM, DIARIST AND POET
chosen by Vicky Kimm
William Allingham (1824-1889), poet, observer of men and of nature, kept one of the loveliest of journals, observing with generosity and with acumen everything that came under his eye: the changes and chances of Victorian life, its men and women famous and modest, and the course of the seasons and of local habitations. His letters and his other lovable writings, newly brought together and brought forward here, add to what he was, to what he saw, and to what we see and feel.
Everything passes and vanishes;
Everything leaves its trace;
And often you see in a footstep
What you could not see in a face.
A singer-songwriter, Vicky Kimm has spent much of her professional life in television, working for the BBC and for Anglia TV, presenting, directing, and script-writing a delightful range of films. Her work has intrigued children, gardeners, lovers of the countryside (and of many particular places), as well as all who would like to know more about aeroplanes – including how to fly them.
“Years ago, I studied Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. In it, there’s a recurring motif entitled Promenade that suggests a wandering between the various pictures at an exhibition. When he was on his own, Allingham walked and walked and walked, rambled, wrote about rambling, wrote poetry whilst rambling. This book is to be like an Allingham walk, his poetry the promenade.”
RICKS: Christopher Ricks, Un-Gyve Literary Advisor. Christopher Ricks, born in Beckenham, 1933, and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, served in the Green Howards in the British Army from 1953 to 1954 in Egypt. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Worcester College, Oxford, moving in 1968, after a sabbatical year at Stanford University, to become Professor of English at the University of Bristol. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University and Co-Director with Archie Burnett of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, which he founded with Geoffrey Hill. A member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, of which he was president from 2007 to 2008, he is known for both critical studies and editorial work. He edited The Poems of Tennyson (revised 1987), The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse (1987), Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917 by T. S. Eliot (1996), The Oxford Book of English Verse (1999), Selected Poems of James Henry (2002), Samuel Menashe’s New and Selected Poems (2005), Samuel Beckett’s The Expelled / The Calmative / The End / First Love (2009), Henry James’s What Maisie Knew (2010) and for Penguin Books Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selected Poems (2007). He is the author of Milton’s Grand Style (1963), Keats and Embarrassment (1974), The Force of Poetry (1984), T. S. Eliot and Prejudice (1988), Tennyson (1989), Beckett’s Dying Words (1993), Essays in Appreciation (1996), Allusion to the Poets (2002), Reviewery (2002), Decisions and Revisions in T. S. Eliot (2003), Dylan’s Visions of Sin (2004), and True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell under the Sign of Eliot and Pound (2010). Sir Christopher was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford from 2004 to 2009; in 2010, Waywiser Press published his anthology Joining Music with Reason: 34 Poets, British and American, Oxford 2004-2009. The Lyrics. Since 1962 (Simon & Schuster 2014) by the Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate Bob Dylan was co-edited by Un-Gyve Press Literary Advisor Christopher Ricks and its Publishers Julie Nemrow and Lisa Nemrow, the edition designed by Un-Gyve Limited.
ROGERS: Samuel Rogers, House in St. James’s Place. Views of the Haunts and Homes of the British Poets, Oct. 19 1850.
N.B. The alphabet swatch colour is Red Clover Blossom from the Un-Gyve Palette.