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3. Utopian Promise   

10. Rhythms
in Poetry

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- HD (Hilda Doolittle)
- T. S. Eliot
- Robert Frost
- Langston Hughes
- Claude McKay
- Ezra Pound
- Carl Sandburg
- Genevieve Taggard
- Jean Toomer
- William Carlos Williams
- Suggested
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Authors: Genevieve Taggard (1894-1948)

Forgotten Women
[7106] World-Telegram, Forgotten Women (1933), courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-113263].

Genevieve Taggard Activities
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Born in Waitsburg, Washington, Genevieve Taggard was raised in Hawaii, where her parents ran a school. Taggard attended the University of California at Berkeley on a scholarship. In 1920 she moved to New York City, where she worked for publisher B. W. Huebsch and, along with several other writers, including Maxwell Anderson, started a journal, the Measure. She also married writer Robert Wolf that year and they had a daughter, Marcia. In 1922, Taggard published her first collection of poetry, For Eager Lovers. Taggard spent most of the 1920s in Greenwich Village, where she socialized with other writers and artists. During this time she edited a poetry anthology called May Days, which collected work from the radical socialist journals The Masses and The Liberator. She also taught at Mount Holyoke, where she wrote a biography of Emily Dickinson, The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson, which was published in 1930.

The 1930s marked a turning point in Taggard's career. The Great Depression sparked a renewal of social and political awareness among writers, and although Taggard had sympathized with socialism since her college years, only now did her poetry begin to show the imprint of her political leanings. As a contributing editor of the Marxist journal The New Masses, Taggard published poems, articles, and reviews. In her work she grapples with such timely issues as class prejudice, racism, feminism, and labor strikes. Unlike poets like Eliot and Pound, Taggard was very much concerned with the plight of the working class, and she used her poetry to raise social and political awareness. As her poetry suggests, Taggard remained an activist for most of her career. She participated in a host of organizations, including the Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, the United Committee to Aid Vermont Marble Workers, and the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. In addition, she was a member of the New York Teachers Union, the League of American Writers, and the U.S.-Soviet Friendship Committee.

In addition to her work as a social activist, Taggard was also deeply interested in radio and music. She saw radio as a means to make poetry and art accessible to the masses, and she often read her poems on the radio. Fascinated by the intersections between poetry and music, Taggard also wrote many poems that were later scored by such composers as William Shuman, Aaron Copeland, Roy Harris, and Henry Leland Clarke.

After more than a decade of marriage, Taggard and Robert Wolf divorced in 1934. The next year she married journalist Kenneth Durant and moved to a farm in East Jamaica, Vermont, a landscape that provided inspiration for her poetry. She also joined the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College, where she taught until her retirement in 1947. Although Taggard died at the comparatively young age of fifty-three, she edited four books, wrote a biography, and published thirteen books of poetry.

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