Marianne Moore - Biography and Works

Marianne Moore was born in St. Louis, and became a teacher and a librarian. As the editor of The Dial magazine from 1925 to 1929, Moore played an important part in encouraging young writers and publishing their work. Moore ranks with Emily Dickinson among America's finest woman poets.

Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

Although some of her verse is difficult to understand, Moore crafted her poems superbly. She generally used poetic syllables rather than conventional patterns of meter. Moore’s subjects – often birds, exotic animals, and other things in nature-may seem to limit her range, but she used them as symbols of honesty and steadfastness. These virtues mark her work, from Poems (1921) through Complete Poems (1967) and her critical prose collected in Predilections (1955). Her Collected Poems won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore was published in 1986, after her death.

Moore is also known as one of the imagist poets who came to prominence with their ‘Imagist Movement’ in the early twentieth century. Besides, Moore is also known as a poetess closer to William Carlos Williams’ brand of ‘objective’ imagism. More also presents concrete objects instead of expressing her feelings ‘about’ them. Like William Carlos Williams, Moore was close to the artist and produced poems influenced by painting. But because she was a student of biology, most of her best poems were beautiful pictures of animals. Moore commented that animals (and athletes- she was a great fan of baseball) are of extravagant interest to her, and that “they are subject and example of art ……..minding their own interest”. The poems like “A Jellyfish” are impressive just for their imagistic features. Moore’s poetry is appreciated for the craftsmanship of the poetess and the clarity, precision and accuracy of presentation.

Related Topics

A Jellyfish: Summary and Analysis

The Fish: Summary and Analysis