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Mary Barnard, American Imagist

Sarah Barnsley

Publication Year: 2013

Uncovers a new chapter in the story of American modernist poetry.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xiv


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pp. xv-xx

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Chapter One: “Spare but Musical”: The Poetry of Mary Barnard

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pp. 1-22

In the year before Mary Barnard wrote the letter to Ezra Pound that was to change her life, she picked out a new bright red student’s notebook by the Chief Company, its cover emblazoned with a Native American in full headdress, and set a goal. “These four years,” she wrote on the first page, referring to the intellectual and creative awakening she had experienced at college, “must...

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Chapter Two: Late Imagism

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pp. 23-58

Pound changed everything. Although Barnard was drawn to the same Greek forms that appealed to the early Imagists, there was little to suggest, at first, that she would become part of his modern movement, even if she had clung to traditional form, as Pound once had, during her early days at Reed College. As a member of the Gawd-Awful Society, named, tongue-in-cheek, after the...

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Chapter Three: “A Would-Be Sappho

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pp. 59-92

In the sawmills and the seashore Barnard found her style as well as her subject; not only were the grains of sand at Ocean Park and the sawmill clearings beyond a north window hard examples of the kind of localized specifics demanded by American modernism, they were also physical and geographical expressions of the kind of spare plainness to be found in the Japanese...

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Chapter Four: “A New Way of Measuring Verse

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pp. 93-126

Writing to Pound in 1937, Barnard complained of the difficulty that she had “listening with a Pacific Coast ear to lines written in an English accent”; to her, “most of the English poets in that Faber anthology [The Faber Book of Modern Verse] seemed as posed as mannikins [sic].”1 What was called for was an American metric, one that was infinitely flexible and able to accommodate...

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Chapter Five: “A Bright Particular Excellence”: The Achievement of Mary Barnard

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pp. 127-140

“Perhaps it is impolite to the guest to leave him with the feeling that there is more in the kitchen than I have put on the table,” Mary Barnard told the editor of her memoir, August Fruge, in justification of the exclusion of some of her letters to her modernist friends, “but I prefer it that way.”1 Such demand for privacy during one’s lifetime is entirely understandable...

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Epilogue: The Mary Barnard Papers: A Note

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pp. 141-142

The Mary Barnard Papers were transferred from the archives of Elizabeth J. Bell, literary executor to Mary Barnard’s estate, in Vancouver, Washington, to the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in January 2005. I consulted some of these papers (some...


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pp. 143-160


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pp. 161-166


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pp. 167-176

Back Cover

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pp. 198-198

E-ISBN-13: 9781438448572
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438448558

Page Count: 196
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 862746578
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mary Barnard, American Imagist

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Subject Headings

  • Modernism (Literature) -- United States.
  • Barnard, Mary -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • American poetry -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
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