In/between the wars: poetry in the 1930s
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In/between the wars: poetry in the 1930s book
Introduction As great a variety of poetry was produced in the 1930s as at any other time in the twentieth century, and yet the decade's heterogeneity has frequently been undervalued. Because the decade is often considered to belong to Auden and his circle, I want to begin by stressing the breadth of verse published in the 1930s. Yeats and Eliot composed some of their best poems and the second edition of the influential work of the Victorian-as-modernist Gerard Manley Hopkins appeared in 1930. Of the well-known war poets, Graves, Sassoon, Blunden, Jones, and Gurney were still writing, as were Kipling, Masefield, and Arthur Symons. Surrealist poetry, promoted by David Gascoyne in A Short Survey of Surrealism (1935) and practised by Gascoyne, Roger Roughton, Herbert Read, and Hugh Sykes Davies, was temporarily in vogue in the second half of the decade and influenced Dylan Thomas (see Connor 1995). New writers, such as Stevie Smith and John Betjeman, though outside the mainstream of the 'Auden generation', were writing original poetry that was both idiosyncratic and comic. The small but significant number of women poets published in the 1930s has until recently been ignored, though they range from exemplary figures such as Elizabeth Daryush and Anne Ridler to those better known as novelists such as Winifred Holtby and Sylvia Townsend Warner. This was also the decade in which the Irish successor - more than Louis MacNeice - to Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, started to publish.