The Bois bores me

Hope Mirrlees : Collected Poems, edited by Sandeep Parmar has been published by Carcanet in the U.K. It has a great Introduction and extensive notes on the poems.

Hope Mirrlees was born in Kent in 1887. She grew up and was educated in Scotland and, in 1910, went to study classics at Cambridge, where she met her companion, Jane Harrison. She moved to Paris in 1922 to live with Jane Harrison at the American University Women's Club in Montparnasse. Jane died suddenly from leukaemia in 1928. Hope Mirrlees moved, in the 1940s, to South Africa and didn't publish again until 1962. She died in England in 1978.

Even though it was first published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press in 1919 I didn't read Hope Mirrlees' long out-of-print PARIS - A Poem until ninety years later. It is experimental, unlike her other poems which are conventionally organised into left-justified stanzas. The late Virginia Woolf scholar Julia Briggs called PARIS - A Poem “modernism’s lost masterpiece, a work of extraordinary energy and intensity, scope and ambition.”

                                       Please click on the images to enlarge the extracts

As I've said, PARIS - A Poem has been out of print for a very long time. It could only be found as a pdf file on the web here. Now, it's included in the Collected Poems and Mike Tortorello's Pegana Press has published a limited edition of the poem. According to him Paris - A Poem influenced T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf. My poem American Memories, Melbourne was directly influenced by Hope Mirrlees. You can scroll down to the end of this post to read it.

                                       Pegana Press Limited Edition
Hope Mirrlees with Lytton Strachey and others at Ottoline Morrell's house Bloomsbury,around 1930.

Philadelphian novelist and biographer of Hope Mirrlees (a limited edition), Michael Swanwick, has annotated PARIS - A Poem.

Here is my poem influenced by Hope Mirrlees' PARIS - A Poem. It was written in late 2009.(Click on the title for a full size version).

American Memories, Melbourne

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