The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language

Laura (Riding) Jackson
Edited by John Nolan
Brings together four decades of largely unpublished work by  Jackson, exploring the rationale for her renunciation of poetry in 1941 after two decades as a poet


In The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language , Laura (Riding) Jackson examines the subjects of poetry, language, and truth; the conflict between truth and art; and the range of human attitudes to the prospect of truth-speaking. Also included are a series of comments on and judgments of the poets Coleridge, Clare, Eliot, Frost, Vachel Lindsay, Lowell, Pound, Dylan Thomas, and W. C. Williams and selections from her correspondence ranging from 1948 to 1984.

Laura (Riding) Jackson's first published poems appeared in 1923 in magazines such as The Fugitive. In 1925 she moved to England, and during thirteen years abroad wrote some twenty books of poetry, criticism, and fiction. In 1941 she renounced poetry, married Schuyler B. Jackson, and collaborated with him on what would become Rational Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words. The Telling, her spiritual testament, was published in 1972. In 1991, she was awarded the Bollingen Prize for her lifetime contribution to poetry. She died on September 2, 1991.

John Nolan is a member of the Laura (Riding) Jackson Board of Literary Management, and co-editor, with Alan J. Clark, of Laura (Riding) Jackson's Under the Mind's Watch (2004). He lives in London, England.

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Copyright © 2007, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


Supplemental Materials

Laura Riding Jackson Readings:

Please note: To listen to these audio files, you will need a media player installed on your computer. Click here to download a free copy of Quicktime.

Courtesy of the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard College Library.

Product Details

  • 5.375 x 8.
  • 280pp.
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  • Hardcover
  • 2007
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  • 978-0-472-09957-3

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  • 2007
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  • 978-0-472-06957-6

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