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Robert Frost on poet Amy Lowell

Frost penned a salute to his fellow poet for the Monitor in 1925.

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In honor of National Poetry Month, here's an excerpt from the great US poet's salute, which he wrote for the Monitor. It ran on May 16, 1925.

It is absurd to think that the only way to tell if a poem is lasting is to wait and see if it lasts. The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound – that he will never get over it. That is to say, permanence in poetry as in love is perceived instantly. It hasn't to await the test of time. The proof of a poem is not that we have never forgotten it, but that we knew at sight that we never could forget it. There was a barb to it and a tocsin that we owned to at once. How often I have heard it in the voice and seen it in the eyes of this generation that Amy Lowell had lodged poetry with them to stay.

The most exciting movement in nature is not progress, advance, but expansion and contraction, the opening and shutting of the eye, the hand, the heart, the mind. We throw our arms wide with a gesture of religion to the universe; we close them around a person. We explore and adventure for a while and then we draw in to consolidate our gains.... Amy Lowell was distinguished in a period of dilation when poetry, in the effort to include a larger material, stretched itself almost to the breaking of the verse. Little ones with no more apparatus than a tea-cup looked on with alarm. She helped make it stirring times for a decade to those immediately concerned with art and to many not so immediately.... Her poetry was forever a clear resonant calling off of things seen.


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