A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.
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.