H.D. and Her Poetry AleiaMouchref
Background • Hilda Doolittle also known as H.D. • successful feminist writer • published epic poems expressing the feminist views of the 1900’s. • Born in Bethlehem, PA in 1886 • Doolittle lived in our area for the early years of her life • Moved to England • Known bisexual • Had many affairs during her relationships • Entered psychotherapy and psychoanalytic sessions which tried to cure her bisexuality
“Writing on the Wall” • images literally on a wall in her bedroom • “supernatural” • Basically her inspiration • Experienced while on vacation • Other poets claimed this as well • Defined H.D. as a “seer” and a “prophet”
Writing Style • Imagism • Phanopoeia • Projection • “Projection as phanopoeia” • “vision of the womb” • Greek Mythology • Pound’s ideas
Hermes of the Ways-H.D.’s use of Pound’s Ideals The hard sand breaks,and the grains of itare clear as wine.Far off over, the leagues of it,the wind,playing on the wide shore,piles little ridges,and the great wavesbreak over it. • Her loss of Victorian and Georgian language are modern • This is the kind of poetry Ezra Pound praised H.D. for
“Vision of the Womb” • A jellyfish-like state • 2 regions of this state • Doolittle claims mainly females can operate under the state of mind • Thoughts are “received, nourished…”, given a form and then projected into the world • A “fetus of the body” in the mind • “thoughts pass and are visible like fish swimming under clear water”
Projection Projection: just as the literal meaning; it projects an image in a poem In H.D.’s writing, projection, has many different meanings, but the word constantly marks a transition in her work.
Example of Projection: Projector • Literal sense of projection • Referencing Apollo, god of light, and cinema • Images on a screen This is his gift;light,lighta wavethat sweepsus from old fearsand powers
Phanopoeia • A term used by Ezra Pound, but constantly used by Doolittle. • Literally means “throwing a visual image on the mind” • Projection as Phanopoeia
Example of Projection as Phanopoeia: Sea Gods for you will come, you will comeYou will answer our taut hearts...and cherish and shelter us • Addressing gods directly • “compelling them from immanence to manifestation”
Sea Garden…Sea Rose Rose, harsh rose, marred and with stint of petals, meagre flower, thin, sparse of leaf, more preciousthan a wet rose single on a stem— you are caught in the drift. Stunted, with small leaf, you are flung on the sand, you are lifted in the crisp sand that drives in the wind. can the spice rose drip such acrid fragrance hardened in a leaf?
Sea Rose Analysis • Addresses the rose directly • You, I and H.D. are the same person in the poem, and the person is the rose • The rose is actually very old and unappealing • Despite this, the flower is very precious • The rose survives being moved around by wind and waves • The fragrance of the rose is almost solidifying and becoming better with age • The scent of the flower is the reason why the rose is valuable • Nothing grows in this poem, everything is stunted • The rose is a flower for Hermes
Garden-Part I You are clearO rose, cut in rock,hard as the descent of hail.I could scrape the colourfrom the petalslike spilt dye from a rock.If I could break youI could break a tree.If I could stirI could break a tree—I could break you.
Garden-Part IAnalysis • Think of a Dryad trying to break out of her tree • H.D. is this Dryad attempting to break boundaries of society and her self-confidence • If she breaks one, or even gets a slither of self-confidence, she can break the other and overcome her struggles
Garden-Part II (Heat) O wind, rend open the heat, cut apart the heat, rend it to tatters. Fruit cannot drop through this thick air— fruit cannot fall into heat that presses up and blunts the points of pears and rounds the grapes. Cut the heat— plough through it, turning it on either side of your path.
Heat Analysis • Using imagism she asks her Greek gods to physically cut the heat • If reading into the poem, the reader finds it slightly sexual • Double meanings • The initial thought of asking for wind • The suggestive request
Eurydice I So you have swept me back, I who could have walked with the live souls above the earth, I who could have slept among the live flowers at last; so for your arrogance and your ruthlessness I am swept back where dead lichens drip dead cinders upon moss of ash; so for your arrogance I am broken at last, I who had lived unconscious, who was almost forgot; if you had let me wait I had grown from listlessness into peace, if you had let me rest with the dead, I had forgot you and the past.
Eurydice I Analysis • Eurydice is talking to Orpheus as he looks back at her and leaves her permanently in Hell • H.D. is talking to her male counterpart poets who mock her • Eurydice is Doolittle’s way of expressing her feminist views while using her love of Greek mythology
Nights • A novel about group of narratives which helped H.D. concur her daily struggles of mental stability, bisexuality, and the societal views of herself • H.D. in this novel is known as Natalia, who committed suicide but kept a journal, the group of narratives • The prologue starts with H.D. using her pseudonym and male alter-ego, John Helforth, who analyses Natalia’s entries • In the novel as John Helforth and Natalia, H.D. makes herself: • Male and female • Living and dead • Writer and critic
Nights Cont. • While resembling Helforth’spychoanalysist view of the narratives, H.D. was also permitted to flow her emotions into the narratives in Natalia’s character • The journal entries embody her life up until the suicide • They reveal that Natalia’s husband left her, in pursuit of an “openly-gay” lifestyle • They also reveal that Natalia was bisexual like Doolittle • After leaving her, Natalia has relationswith a younger man, David • This is the main action of the journal
Nights Cont. • The most important elements on the novel, and of the entries are the “mental, spiritual, bodily, and linguistic challenges” that face her after: • The separation of her and her new gay husband • Her realization of her bisexuality • The psychoanalytical thought process of Natalia reveal the daily struggles and unfathomable problems of Hilda Doolittle • This novel lead to the modern day detective and psychoanalytic literature of today
Pear Tree Silver dust lifted from the earth, higher than my arms reach, you have mounted. O silver,higher than my arms reach you front us with great mass; no flower ever opened so staunch a white leaf, no flower ever parted silver from such rare silver; O white pear, your flower-tufts, thick on the branch, bring summer and ripe fruitsin their purple hearts.
Pear Tree Analysis • Just out of reach are the beautiful silver buds of the tree • The buds symbolize prosperity and it’s difficulties • The tree represents all that is perfect • If you touch the buds, you destroy them • Use of hyperbole to express the beauty • “Purple heart” = source of emotion • Represents good side of humanity
Bibliography • Friedman, Susan Stanford. "Hilda Doolittle." American Poets, 1880-1945: First Series. Ed. Peter Quartermain. Detroit: Gale Research, 1986. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 45. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Dec. 2012. • Holmgren, Lindsay. "Nights." In Maunder, Andrew. Facts On File Companion to the British Short Story. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CBSS0287&SingleRecord=True • Persoon, James, and Robert R. Watson. "H. D." The Facts On File Companion to British Poetry, 1900 to Present. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CBPNP192&SingleRecord=True • Persoon, James, and Robert R. Watson. "'Eurydice'." The Facts On File Companion to British Poetry, 1900 to Present. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CBPNP137&SingleRecord=True • Gregory, Eileen. "Rose Cut in Rock: Sappho and H. D.'s Sea Garden." Contemporary Literature 27.4 (Winter 1986): 525-552. Rpt. in Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 67. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Dec. 2012