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February 5, 1927

William Rose Benét, Padraic Colum, Marguerite Wilkinson, DuBose Heyward and Leonard Bacon were among the prominent younger poets assembled by Professor of English Edward Davison—himself a poet—to discuss the effect of the modern American city on contemporary poetry. Bacon deplored the city’s tendency to encourage schools; Heyward said “the modern city has done something terrible to people trying to be artists;” Benét feared too much intellectuality, and Colum said no poet could “express the scientific advance of today—interpret the chemist and the engineer and Einstein’s work—in human terms.” But Wilkinson was more hopeful, citing Robert Frost as an example of a new ability “to produce poetry with fine local flavor, rising straight from the soil” and praising Edward Arlington Robinson’s ability “to express personality and character and to interpret them so well that some of the characters we meet in poetry are more real than chance acquaintances…in real life.” And, she noted, “We have also begun to make sincere lyrics of womanhood, telling naturally, simply and without affectation the things in the hearts of women.”

The New York Times

The Years