The Language of Poetry

  • Allan Ingram
Part of the The Language of Literature book series (LALI)


Lawrence wrote this in May 1928, after the publication of seven volumes of poetry during the years since he was nineteen, and with a collected edition in preparation. He could afford to be dismissive about his first efforts, and about his first attempt at publication: ‘Myself, I had offered the little poem Study to the Nottingham University Magazine, but they returned it.’ (Complete Poems, II, 851) His first appearance in a serious literary magazine had been as a poet when Ford Madox Ford accepted three poems for the English Review, and published them in November 1909. The poem ‘Snap-Dragon’, written in the summer of 1907, two years after his first ‘compositions’, was published in the English Review in June 1912 and subsequently in Edward Marsh’s Georgian Poetry 1911’1912, which also appeared in 1912 and was continuing to provide Lawrence with royalties in January 1914 (Letters, II, 140). By the end of his life, the moral danger of his poetry was sufficient for the English authorities to censor the collection Pansies before its publication in 1929:

Some of the poems are perforce omitted — about a dozen from the bunch. When Scotland Yard seized the MS. in the post, at the order of the Home Secretary, no doubt there was a rush of detectives, postmen, and Home Office clerks and heads, to pick out the most lurid blossoms. They must have been very disappointed. When I now read down the list of the omitted poems, and recall the dozen amusing, not terribly important bits of pansies which have had to stay out of print for fear a policeman might put his foot on them, I can only grin once more to think of the nanny-goat, nanny-goat-in-a-white-petticoat silliness of it all. (Complete Poems, I, 423)


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  1. 2.
    Christopher Hassall, A Biography of Edward Marsh (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1959), pp. 193–4.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Edward Marsh, A Number of People (New York and London: Harper, 1939), p. 234.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Allan Ingram 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan Ingram
    • 1
  1. 1.Newcastle upon Tyne PolytechnicUK

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