Hippopoetess

On words, poetic and otherwise.

Brian Fehler
Nov 16, 2019 · 2 min read
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

He wrote lovely words,
beautiful ones about hyacinths
and lantanas, zinnias and spires,
Never achieving immortal fame
as perhaps he would have liked
to, as the poets often delight
to. The Santa Fe of his later
life, still so far from the broken-
bottle alcoholism of the Brooklyn
childhood home that held him but
did not hold him back.
He said, besides those lovely words
about hyacinths, he called her
The Hippopoetess.

Another he wrote other kinds of words,
more for immortality than
understanding, about granite brinks for Helicon.
Though the term in
question was not originally his,
but he repeated it, at a party,
attempting to be charming or funny
maybe:
The Hippopoetess.

She, from her Brahmin berth,
wrote of Other kinds of love,
of being drunk with the wine of
you
— who? Never said a word
about the word, the term,
the name, the slur. But moved
on in that world of words
they all shared; but did she
wonder, maybe, in that wide
world of words why that one
should have emerged?

Well known in his time, though less so now, Witter Bynner wote poems such as “Along the Mountain-Margin of Mescala.” He called Amy Lowell The Hippopoetess. Lowell, of that great New England family, was a critic as well as a poet, and helped to legitimize the poetry of Ezra Pound and others. Pound repeated the “Hippopoetess” comment, which is often attributed to him. In a class long ago, a professor explained the comment by discussing the fact that Lowell had a glandular problem, a reason for her gaining weight. I found it interesting, and telling, that a reason was assigned to Lowell’s weight gain but not to Bynner’s unkind remark.

Brian Fehler

Written by

[Taking a little break!] Storyteller/Scholar/Rhetorician 🏳️‍🌈 Twitter: @brianfehler (He/Him)

Broads Non Grata

Disrupt — discover new voices and new aspects of known voices. Pour in your raw emotions of feeling like an outsider to flourish in hope to work towards a more diverse/inclusive world.

Brian Fehler

Written by

[Taking a little break!] Storyteller/Scholar/Rhetorician 🏳️‍🌈 Twitter: @brianfehler (He/Him)

Broads Non Grata

Disrupt — discover new voices and new aspects of known voices. Pour in your raw emotions of feeling like an outsider to flourish in hope to work towards a more diverse/inclusive world.

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