The Choir And Music Of Solitude And Silence by Delmore Schwartz
Today’s Silence Scribed
Today’s silence scribed
The peal of tomorrow calls
Yesterday’s dreams stilled
Delmore Schwartz (1913 -1966), American poet, short-story writer, and literary critic noted for his lyrical descriptions of cultural alienation and the search for identity.
Educated at the University of Wisconsin, New York University, and Harvard University, Schwartz later taught at Harvard and at a number of other schools.
Schwartz first book, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities (1939), which brought him immediate fame, included the short story of the title and a group of poems remarkable for their lyric beauty and imaginative power.
Schwartz subsequent publications included Shenandoah (1941), a verse play; Genesis, Book I (1943), a long introspective poem; The World Is a Wedding (1948) and Successful Love, and Other Stories (1961), short stories dealing primarily with middle-class Jewish family life.
Schwartz lucid and sensitive literary criticism was published in various periodicals.
Schwartz served as an editor for Partisan Review (1943–55) and The New Republic (1955–57).
In 1959, he became the youngest-ever recipient of the Bollingen Prize, awarded for a collection of poetry he published that year, Summer Knowledge: New and Selected Poems (1938-1958).
Schwatz poetry differed from his stories in that it was less autobiographical and more philosophical. His verse also became increasingly abstract in his later years.
In addition to being known as a gifted writer, Schwartz was considered a great conversationalist and spent much time entertaining friends at the White Horse Tavern in New York City.
Much of Schwartz’s work is notable for its philosophical and deeply meditative nature, and the literary critic, R.W. Flint, wrote that Schwartz’s stories were “the definitive portrait of the Jewish middle class in New York during the Depression.”
In particular, Schwartz emphasized the large divide that existed between his generation (which came of age during the Depression) and his parents’ generation (who had often come to the United States as first-generation immigrants and whose idealistic view of America differed greatly from his own).
In another take on Schwartz’s fiction, Morris Dickstein wrote that “Schwartz’s best stories are either poker-faced satirical takes on the bohemians and outright failures of his generation, as in ‘The World Is a Wedding’ and ‘New Year’s Eve,’ or chronicles of the distressed lives of his parents’ generation, for whom the promise of American life has not panned out.”
A selection of his short stories was published posthumously in 1978 under the title In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories and was edited by James Atlas who had written a biography of Schwartz, Delmore Schwartz: The Life of An American Poet, two years earlier.
Later, another collection of Schwartz’s work, Screeno: Stories & Poems, was published in 2004. This collection contained fewer stories than In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories but it also included a selection of some of Schwartz’s best-known poems like “The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me” and “In The Naked Bed, In Plato’s Cave”.
The brilliant but mentally unstable Schwartz was the model for the title character in Saul Bellow’s novel Humboldt’s Gift (1975).
Bio Reference Attribution https://www.britannica.com/biography/Delmore-Schwartz & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delmore_Schwartz
Photo Attribution © (Photographer Unstated), Delmore Schwartz, (Date Unstated)
Poem Attribution © Delmore Schwartz, The Choir And Music Of Solitude And Silence
Senryū Attribution Goff James, Today’s Silence Scribed
Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved
Painting Attribution © Changsoon Oh, Silence 15, (Date Unstated)
Source Attribution https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Silence-15/45266/176563/view
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