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I Hear a River Thro' the Valley Wander -- Trumbull Stickney

(Poem #396) I Hear a River Thro' the Valley Wander
 I hear a river thro' the valley wander
 Whose water runs, the song alone remaining.
 A rainbow stands and summer passes under.
-- Trumbull Stickney
An exquisite little poem that needs no explanation. The juxtaposition of
images is especially nice - the river and the summer reinforcing both on the
metaphor and the image level - as is the pleasing regularity of the verse
(something imagists[1], for instance, often neglect).

[1] not to imply that imagist verse is 'free', just that metre is rarely
used as a device. Kreymborg's 'Whitman'[2] is a beautiful counterexample.

[2] poem #245


  Notes on Life and Works

  Joseph Trumbull Stickney was born in Geneva on June 20, 1874, and grew up
  (to a height of six feet four inches) as his parents travelled widely ...
  Wiesbaden, Florence, Nice, London, and New York. After being educated by
  his father Austin at home in Latin and Greek, Trumbull entered Harvard
  University in 1891. He graduated magna cum laude in June 1895.

  The following eight years were spent studying for the degree of Doctorat
  ès Lettres at the Sorbonne in Paris. For this he wrote two theses, one on
  the letters of Ermolao Barbaro, a 15th-century ambassador to Rome, and the
  other on aphorisms in Greek verse. His Dramatic Verses was published in
  Boston in 1902, dedicated from Paris to his friend "Bay" (George) Lodge,
  who would co-edit Stickney's collected poems in 1905.

  In 1903 his second thesis was published as Les Sentences dans la Poésie
  Grècque: this won him the first Sorbonne Doctorat awarded to an American.
  Stickney then took on a position as instructor in Greek at Harvard in 1903
  and travelled abroad in Greece from April to June that year. A brain tumor
  caused headaches and partial blindness from early in 1904 and led to his
  death in Boston on Oct. 11. He is buried in Hartford, Connecticut. For his
  biography, see Homage to Trumbull Stickney: Poems, edited by James Reeves
  and Seán Haldane (London: Heinemann, 1968), pp. 1-16 (New York Public
  Library shelfmark D-18-2147).

        -- Representative Poetry Online


Variations on a Fragment by Trumbull Stickney (John Hollander): Not a parody
(for those of you who remember the Williams variations[3]), but a nice set of
variations on the theme.
  [broken link]

Random association: The last line reminds me of AE's stars 'dancing over the
mountains' - see poem #350

[3] getting further and further off topic, but... poem #278

- martin

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