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Why Poetry Is Plentiful

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With "Transatlantio Bardlets" as hii headline, a writer in the London Saturday Review prefaces some rather savnge criticisni of several books of verse recently publishcd in America with the following lively remarks : They ai-e uncommonly like the E:iglish poetlings, these transatlantio bardIets, but there are more of them. This h not because the States are less poëtica'. than the mother country, but becausí they have more people. Moreover, "culture" is generally heldin higher esteeru there, and to appear in print is an undoubted mark of having obtained it, jast as a university degree is a proof , aniong the English middle classes, of its prond possessor's right to be regarded as e scholar and a gentleman. But if the authorship of a book is a certifícate of taste and reading it becomes a diploma in honors when that book consists of metrical matter. Now,. about 75 per cent of moderately educated persons eau write lines which sometimes scan, often rhyrne and occasionally make sense, and a painfully large proportion of these are impelled to establish their characters in the eyes of theii neighbors by the publication of these se called verses. A little mo'ney or tic power of delnding a publisher's reader, ' a simple tribe, is all that is needed. It ' must bo added that at times the "poems' ' are a genuine trade success, as are in England, for instance, the innocent maunderings of Sir Edwin Arnold and Mr. Lewis Morris, a fact which encourages scores, nay, hundi'eds, of other ambitious and avaricionc rhymesters fcc emulato the lucky men. In the States, too, they have their d( :i ' little cliques of mutual admirers, V:ü our fair brothorhood of the Rhyme i' club and the Bodley Head, who gem ■- ously praise one another's songs - whi; h tlioy read (or neglcct to rcad) in p tation copies - and they thus maintniE one another's spirit on a litt'le btitti r. Aiid then, of eoursc, there are always one's muits and sisters aud wives a cl that sort of' thing. There are more ui these in the United States than here; henee there is more minor poetry.


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