Erwin Tiongson’s Slate article (11 Dec. 2019), “The Most Famous Photograph of Poets Ever Taken,” features a 1948 photo published in Life Magazine. Although H.D. was not part of this group and indeed was convalescing in Switzerland at the time, the image features many members of her literary and personal circles.
Nearly all of the 16 poets featured in the image contributed to Life and Letters Today, the magazine owned by Bryher from 1935-1950. The magazine was edited by Robert Herring, but correspondence between Herring and H.D. shows that she made hands-on, substantive contributions both to the content of the magazine and to the scope of contributors.
Of the poets pictured, the following were all Life and Letters Today contributors: Horace Gregory, Marya Zaturenska, Edith and Osbert Sitwell, Richard Eberhart, Charles Henri Ford, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, and Delmore Schwartz. Most of the rest were one degree of separation from those contributors.
Lara Vetter’s A Curious Peril: H.D.’s Late Modernist Prose(2017) is a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and now it is available in paperback. The book provides both a political and intellectual context for H.D.’s late prose that extends far beyond H.D. and makes the work an excellent anchor for any course on late modernism, literature and WWII, or literature and war in general.
from the University Press of Florida Web page: “Vetter’s book stands as an important corrective to accounts of H.D. as ethereal and disconnected. She shows, carefully and persuasively, that H.D.’s engagement with politics was not merely the interest of a woman who happened to live through some seismic shifts in political and national history, but that H.D. was engaged to the extent of the imaginative construction of possible social and political futures.”—Review of English Studies
This month’s Modernism/modernity Print Plus platform features “Mind the Gap! Modernism and Feminist Praxis.” Articles by Madelyn Detloff, Anne Fernald, Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, and Ewa Ziarek take up the issue from a range of perspectives. Kennedy-Epstein’s “The Spirit of Revolt: Women Writers, Archives and the Cold War” begins with a curricular debate about the role and literary heft of H.D. in modernist studies today. Her defense of H.D. and other modernist women writers is wide-ranging and offers a compelling argument for ensuring that women writers feature prominently in the literary landscape.
PoetryTheatre offers a dramatic recitation of H.D.’s “Sheltered Garden,” which just happens to be my favorite poem from Sea Garden. Show this alongside “Helen” or “Sea Rose” when teaching H.D. out of limited anthologies, and watch the students’ readings open up in delightful directions.
Listen to the introduction and first song of the Transatlantic Welsh Concert performed by Paul Robeson in 1957 after his passport was revoked and he was unable to travel to the UK. The clip on YouTube includes the introduction to the concert by Will Paynter, president of the South Wales Miners, as well as Paul Robeson’s comments and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.” The SAIN Wales label includes a biography of Robeson through a Welsh lens as well as a downloadable copy of Robeson’s complete Transatlantic Exchange Concerts.
Brianna Harris’s YouTube site notes that she uses this montage of Borderline scenes when she teaches the film at Hampshire College. She writes, “I used the footage from the silent film “Borderline 1930″ to emphasize the themes of relationships, affairs, and racism vs. romance. You also see themes of gender roles and betrayal, truth, shame, and murder.” The contemporary soundtrack adds emphasis to those themes as well. This montage is great for those wishing to teach the film without showing the whole film in class as well as for anyone wishing to contrast the experience of the 1930 silent film with contemporary film viewing practice.
Visiting Wales’s YouTube site includes a brief profile of Paul Robeson highlighting his performances and political work in Wales, a connection begun with the POOL Group circle that produced Borderline.