American Poetry -What Has Been Lost
April 15, 2010"While our present, oppressive, quietly intimidating samizdat milieu can produce rich literature, as in Stalin's era, it soon needs to be addressed, or we will be deconstructed through "commercial correctness" into a new Dark Ages."
Interview with scholar-activist Stephen Volk, author of "The American Poerty Holocaust," a book about how Socialists and Communists, led by the Jewish critic Louis Untermeyer, changed the literary sensibility of America.
Build is the key word. We have 2,000 years of poetic heritage to keep building and improving on. This is so very exciting! This is why I put acrostics and never-before used devices, such as compounding and parallelism, into my magnum opus, The Vatican Sonnets.
But modern poetry acts as if nothing existed before itself (just try and have this attitude in mathematics) - throw out the forms, the innumerable literary devices, the musicality, the spiritual and beautiful and noble subject matter, the rich Christian allusions and truths - and now "progress" to the merely observable, merely material, subjective "rights of man" infusion into what is really prosaic content with a typographical form and jagged appearance calling itself poetry and, generally, promoting licentiousness while dehumanizing. It is not poetry. It's like looking at a steering wheel in an auto salvage yard and calling it a car...
He is severely underrated, while modern poets like Untermeyer, Sandburg and Frost are, through the liberal culture industry and its Marxist goals, severely overrated, if they can be rated at all.
The Pageantry of Man by Stanton Coblentz - I have the 1934 copy inscribed to his wife on her birthday, as she inspired it - is an epic poem which took him 2 1/2 years! A great American work which should be taught. (But, at this point, the Dept. of Education and its dumbing down socialist agenda, as revealed by Charlotte Iserbyt, will have to be dismantled first.)
And then there are his many books of essays, poems, and anthologies, which represent the timeless as opposed to the "progressive." Anyone teaching and writing poetry should have these as lifetime references...
Untermeyer saw that his socialist comrade, Sandburg, was identified with Abe Lincoln to overshadow Markham's once-famous Lincoln and Other Poems. Who today teaches Markham or Coblentz in the classroom? And those poets actually worthy of being taught and read today are listed in the various essay books by Coblentz, all of which are listed in an appendix of my The American Poetry Holocaust.
"In the deeper sense, the contemporary attitude toward poetry reflects the general outlook of an age so effete that it has lost all sense of values, all idea of spiritual reality, all belief in an ultimate meaning either in man or in nature, all faith in entities not to be weighed or measured or photographed. For the current mood of negation belittles poetry very much as it belittles the human spirit. Yet to one who casts his eyes across the long vistas of the past, and realizes all that poetry has brought by way of meaning, stimulation and upliftment, there comes a ray of encouragement, and an assurance that eventually the day of self-immersed aesthetes with their crossword puzzles will be over and poetry once more will shine of its own importance in the sunlight...."
In modern poetry and prose literature, as in all areas of life, collectivism breeds mediocrity. Never have we had more excellent book covers on such a mass of mediocre literature. Standards of real literary excellence receive nearly no remuneration or acknowledgment; while the latest Kitty-Lit scrawl easily commands a $100,000 advance.
This is a war on culture, when you think that 150 years ago fourteen year-olds were not only reading, but debating, in Greek and Latin. Too, one of the goals of modern poetry is collectivism; as a result, we have a shocking dearth of individual heroes in modern poetry and prose.
This literary work was to be displayed at the International London Book Fair but was censored! No one would let it be displayed! And this happened with several of my books at several international book fairs!
I concluded we were now living in an age of a North American samizdat mentality - samizdat originally the underground writings in Russia from which Solzhenitsyn put together his Gulag Archipelago. But should this surprise anyone, when the same responsible for Russian socialism are also responsible for North American socialism? No. All my books did not and would not carry the materialist-naturalist world view in modern poetry transferred into most fiction.
The result was to see, repeatedly, a quiet, behind-the-scenes book censorship, which made Hitler's overt book burnings look like a Girl Scout campfire. While our present, oppressive, quietly intimidating samizdat milieu can produce rich literature, as in Stalin's era, it soon needs to be addressed, or we will be deconstructed through "commercial correctness" into a new Dark Ages.
These are the organized forces leading to the spirit of anti-Christ. "Forces" is a very good choice here as the actual translation in the Book of Daniel is "god of forces." But as Hillaire Belloc pointed out in his 56 articles on distributist economics, negative forces can include not just socialism and communism but secularized, amoral, corrupt capitalism and big business.
And there is overlap, as high capitalists become socialists when they control the market and eliminate their competition. At the time of this interview, socialism is leading into communism. As in Hinduism and Freemasonry and the military, socialism and communism emphasize collectivism and denigrate the individual.
As [Frankfurt School's] Theo Adorno's [John Lennon] Beatle said, "I am he as you are he and you are me and we are all together." Collectivism. It eliminates the responsibility and accountability of the individual and his or her actions to God. In godless socialism and communism, the false messiah of the state takes the place of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
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Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at