Wednesday, September 05, 2012

ABC Wednesday:
H is for Hemingway

Gwyllam Williams wrote on his Poet in Residence blog
I don't imagine for two seconds that it'll be easy finding too much poetic phraseology in the works of Ernest Miller Hemingway. His work in general is without the ingredient we like to call poetic quality. Some have called it reportage. He has many imitators. Some good. Some bad.
I commented then
I've got a copy of a small booklet of poems by Hemingway somewhere - published (if I recall correctly) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in California c.1966
I've since fished it out and see the date is actually 1960.

Al Filreis in his blog 1960 comments
Over the years there have been nine unauthorized editions of the poems. All or most of these editions contain 18 poems, which are most of the poems Hem wrote and published while he was living in Paris in the 1920s. The critical response to his verse is mostly based on the pirated editions, which are filled with errors.

One of these unauthorized editions was published by City Lights in San Francisco in 1960. It sold for 50 cents.
The pirated edition is advertised on Amazon at $45.99 (new) or 8 used from $4.99

My copy has 21p in pencil inside the front cover. I suspect I picked it up for that meagre sum, probably from a bookshop in the Shambles in York. It used to have a room full of little pamphlets that you could rummage through.

This poem is dated February 1925

The age demanded that we sing
And cut away our tongue.

The age demanded that we flow
And hammered in the bung.

The age demanded that we dance
And jammed us into iron pants.

And in the end the age has handed
The sort of shit that it demanded.

Hemingway aficionados might like to check out Paul E Stolle's blog Hemingway's Paris

For ABC Wednesday.


  1. A real rabbit out of the hat! Good work, Gerald.

    By the way there's a completely uninteresting Ezra Pound poem of the same title. It's the sequel, footnote, afterthought or whatever, to his almost equally uninteresting E. P. Ode pour L'election de son Sepulcre (part II) which begins

    The age demanded an image
    Of its accelerated grimace,
    Something for the modern stage etc., etc..

  2. ps - I just found 20 EH poems at 'PoemHunter' (via the A-Z Links on my blog which you have kindly linked to above).

  3. Hmm, didn't know about his poetry!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. Didn't know it either maybe because I am not much into poetry.

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  5. True, we don't usually associate Papa Hemingway with poetry. Interesting...