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Voices & Visions

Marianne Moore

Funny, formidable, and paradoxical, the poet and her work are analyzed by critics and friends, including Monroe Wheeler, Grace Shulman, and Patricia Willis. Her most memorable poems display her power of observation and moral force.

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Scholars have marveled at the paradoxes of Marianne Moore–how her verse can show such propriety amidst such caprice, or use such artifice to celebrate the natural, or seem so modern while being unabashedly old-fashioned. In fact, Moore’s “wild decorum” is an accurate reflection of her character and values, exalting a gusto (as she said) that gets things done without running roughshod, a propriety that refuses to wink, distort, or disdain. But for all this down-to-earth practicality, her long, artfully poised sentences and strict but arbitrarily syllabic stanza forms also force us to a self-conscious awareness of the language itself.

Additional Resources

American Academy of Poets

Read Marianne Moore’s prose tribute to the “Greatest” boxer, some of her poems and letters, a brief biography, and a bibliography.

Find-A-Grave

Pay tribute to Moore by visiting her gravesite, which she shares with her mother, in Pennsylvania’s Evergreen Cemetery. You’ll see a picture of the tombstone and a map of the area where the cemetery is located.

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