Alfred Kreymborg Draft 1

Alfred Kreymborg “is middle height, quiet, dignified, dry, unpuffed up, very deliberate and kind.”[1] “He has more claim to be called a founder [Of the American Theater] than Eugene O’Neill.”[2] And as for the two magazines he founded and edited, Glebe and Others, “Their significance is no greater or no less than the estimate that one places on the desirability of securing the reputations of such poets as Williams, Moore, and Stevens.” [3] Born and raised in New York, the quintessential starving artist, a writer, editor, director, musician, chess player, and playwright, it is hard to argue that he had an important influence on the Avant Garde movement.

Kreymborg in many ways does not fit into the conventions of the Avant Garde, few though they may be. He has evident of preference toward the rural over the urban Village is one such example. Unique in and of itself, this preference in turn lead to a unique version of the 20th Century artists salon, who’s archetype can in many ways be represented by the Arensberg Salon, owned by none other than Kreymborg’s partner in crime in the conception, though not the execution, of Others.[4] He also defied convention by refusing to subscribe to any one convention “eschew[ing] anything which approximates is-mism”[5]). These infractions are not the kind of mob raising acts of subversion and defiance that categorize the movement as a whole, but they are infractions nonetheless. Whether they are intentional acts of a renegade or simply actions comporting with Kreymborg’s beliefs is hard to say.

On the subject of Kreymborg’s beliefs, however, throughout his career, Kreymborg seems to seek the leadership and control to make those beliefs dominant. According to Charles Allen, the bankrollers of Glebe, eventually began to renege on their promise that Kreymborg would be “unhampered in his editorial inclinations. But…the Boni brothers favored Europeans, Kreymborg desired the experimental, little known Americans. The editor [Kreymborg] resigned, and Glebe foundered.”[6] In working with the Provincetown Players, Kreymborg wrote that he, “”found it almost im­possible to sway the group toward similar scripts by other writers,” and that the players were “not sufficiently daring and elastic.”[7] So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that, as he founded Others once he was dissatisfied with his control over Glebe, he went on to found The Others Players.[8] This controlling sense is belied by his overt self-effacement, visible in Troubador where he wrote “Anyone is free to come in or stay out of the magazine, subject of course to the none-too-infallible judgment of the editor.”[9] The publication, however, according to Guido Bruno, has Kreymborg undeniably stamped all over it.[10] Kreymborg even seems to want us to know how important he is, writing in his third-person autobiography: “’We’ll have Wallace Stevens and Mina Loy to begin with,’ Walter declared. ‘They alone,’ Krimmie [Kreymborg] interrupted, ‘would create the paper we have in mind.’ ‘So would you,’ Walter added; ‘so would you’, responded Krimmie.”[11] Having Walter conflate Kreymborg with his publication, and responding in kind, makes it seem as though this connection wasn’t Kreymborg’s idea. However, this is Kreymborg’s writing, and Walter Arensberg dropped of the project soon after its inception.[12]

However, the quote also suggests that Mina Loy could be conflated with Others, which is in many ways accurate. In addition to being the only person to have an entire issue of Others dedicated to her work, the writing published in that issue, from a magazine that actively relegated to “the most private circles”[13], wound up on “every coffee table.”[14]

Others is the chief connection between Loy and Kreymborg, though they did both run with the Arensberg crew. However, they also connected in the theater. Loy, opposite William Carlos Williams and William Zolach, played the female lead in Kreymborg’s play Lima Beans, wearing a dress of her own design (which Kreymborg thought didn’t quite go with the character, but he still liked it).[15] Their relationship does not seem to extend beyond their work together and their shared social sphere, though accounts differ on such topics. In the great mythology of the Avant Garde, Loy was among those to make the trek out to the Grantwood Colony (the rural Others salon), she is at the fateful party where Arensberg and Kreymborg meet, and is otherwise popping up in and around the lore of the New York Avant Garde scene while she is actually still in Europe, wreaking her havoc on the stuffy, unsuspecting European public.[16]

 

 

[1] Marianne Moore, Letters

[2] Waldo. “MR KREYMBORG WOOS AMERICA.”

[3] Allen “Glebe and Others.”

[4] Allen “Glebe and Others.”

[5] Others V:1 (December 1918) p.1

[6] Allen “Glebe and Others.”

[7] SARLOS “THE PROVINCETOWN PLAYERS: EXPERIMENTS IN STYLE. (VOLUMES I AND II).”

[8] Churchill, Suzanne M. “Making Space for Others: A History of a Modernist Little Magazine.”

 

[9] Qtd. in Churchill “Making Space for Others: A History of a Modernist Little Magazine.”

[10] Qtd. in Churchill”Making Space for Others: A History of a Modernist Little Magazine.”

[11] Qtd. in Churchill “Making Space for Others: A History of a Modernist Little Magazine.”

[12] Allen. “Glebe and Others”

[13] Kreymborg, Troubador, 183

[14] Black, The Women of Provincetown

[15] Ibid.

[16] Churchill, “Making Space for Others: A History of a Modernist Little Magazine.”

Works Cited:

Allen, Charles. “Glebe and Others.” College English, vol. 5, no. 8,

1944, pp. 418–423. JSTOR, JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable/371453.

 

“The significance of Glebe and Others is no greater or no less than the estimate that one places on the desirability of securing the reputations of such poets as Williams, Moore, and Stevens” (423). The final line Charles Allen’s “Glebe and Others” comes as close as this non-argumentative piece does to a thesis. The article is as much an account of Kreymborg’s work and importance to the Avant Garde movements as it is of the importance of the magazines themselves, following Kreymborg from the founding of these publications to his eventual departure from them, through to their—and thus his—ongoing legacy. Overflowing with admiration for the poets who worked in Others, the article gives accounts of many of the styles of those poets. Though the article offers no close readings, the descriptions are vivid and distinct. The author also offers some historical context, detail’s about Kreymborg’s life, and probably the most successful element of this article, exceedingly well-selected primary source quotes that, combined with the author’s evident excitement for these works, creates something of a sense of the emotional climate of the writers. Loy is mentioned only tangentially among laundry lists of writers—enough to know she was involved, not enough to know she was important.

 

Churchill, Suzanne M. “Making Space for Others: A History of a Modernist Little Magazine.” Journal of Modern Literature 22.1 (1998): 47-67. ProQuest. Web. 15 Sep. 2017.

Churchill, Suzanne W. The Little Magazine Others and the Renovation of Modern

American Poetry. Ashgate. 2006.

 

Miller, C. “Tongues “loosened in the melting pot”: The Poets of Others

and the Lower East Side.” Modernism/modernity, vol. 14 no. 3, 2007, pp. 455-476. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/mod.2007.0067

 

Monroe, Harriet. “Little Theatres and Poetic Plays.” Poetry, vol. 11,

  1. 4, 1918, pp. 201–207. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20571531.

 

 

Voyce, S. “‘Make the World Your Salon’: Poetry and Community at the

Arensberg Apartment.” Modernism/modernity, vol. 15 no. 4, 2008, pp. 627-646. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/mod.0.0039

 

Moore, Marianne. “Letters.” Partisan Review 64, no. 4 (Fall, 1997): 597-608. http://ezproxy.lib.davidson.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/237122854?accountid=10427.

 

SARLOS, ROBERT KAROLY. “THE PROVINCETOWN PLAYERS: EXPERIMENTS IN STYLE. (VOLUMES I AND II).” Order No. 6605392 Yale University, 1966. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 19 Sep. 2017.

 

Black, Cheryl D. “The Women of Provincetown, 1915-1922.” Order No. 9908923 University of Maryland, College Park, 1998. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 19 Sep. 2017.

 

Waldo, Frank. “MR KREYMBORG WOOS AMERICA.” The Dial; a Semi – monthly Journal of Literary Criticism, Discussion, and Information (1880-1929) 07 1925: 72. ProQuest. Web. 19 Sep. 2017

“Alfred Kreymborg is Dead at 82; Poet and Playwright in ‘Village’.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Aug 15, 1966. http://ezproxy.lib.davidson.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/117695870?accountid=10427.

 

Name Alfred Kreymborg
Date of Birth
Place of Birth New York
Date of Death August 14th, 1966
Place of Death Nursing home in Milford CT
Country of origin, citizenship US
Gender M
Race Caucasian
Kind of Artist/Cultural worker (writer, painter, photographer, gallery director, editor, etc) Playwright, director, editor, writer
Address in Florence or New York Grantwood, NJ/Ridgefield NJ/29 Bank Street, Grenwich village
Dates & Places of Overlap with Loy 1916 through his departure from Others, presumably,
Avant-garde movements the figure was associated with [list] Though the encyclopedia entry places him as an imagist, his magazine was distinctly and intentionally “non-denominational”
Brief summary of the figure’s Biographical/Historical significance His greatest contributions to the movement were the establishment of Glebe, and even more so, Others. He was also a member of the Arensberg circle and worked with many famous figures in the movement. He was a judge on the pulitzer committee, a member of a number of literary societies. Charles Allen said ““The significance of Glebe and Others is no greater or no less than the estimate that one places on the desirability of securing the reputations of such poets as Williams, Moore, and Stevens” and Frank Waldo said “He has more claim to be called a founder [Of the American Theater] than Eugene O’Neill.”
Brief summary of the figure’s Relationship to Loy: In addition to being her editor, the fact that they ran in the same circles, and her performance in a play he wrote, there is additional mythology to their relationship, her presence at the Grantwood colony orin association with the fateful birth of Others.
What was the nature of their overlap or connection?
Was it social, literary, artistic? Were they involved in collaborative ventures (publications, exhibitions, performances, readings)? Largely artistic/collaborative–she performed in his play, he published her works. Little is said about the two of them in a social setting besides the fact that they ran in the same social circles

4 Comments on “Alfred Kreymborg Draft 1”

  1. I think you did a great job balancing two of the tougher, seemingly opposed goals of this assignment–providing a rich description of the subject’s life and also amply fleshing out the subject’s relationship with Loy. The footnote citation method you used was also really clear and helpful. Well-structured and well-organized! Aside from a few first-draft level typos (floating quotes in sentence between footnotes 6 and 7, “He has evident” in line one, etc.), a really strong piece.

  2. I love your lively, conversational writing style, and I’m thrilled by the way you’ve already achieved a sense of being an insider to the avant-garde world of Greenwich Village in its heyday, due to your impressive research and mastery of the territory. But for the purposes of the website, I worry that the style of this bio is a little too witty and chatty. The choice to open with 3 quotations in a row is itself rather avant-garde—almost like a Marianne Moore poem. But it’s also disorienting. While the narrative doesn’t have to be barebones dry and dull, this section of the site will be a reference section, so each entry has to supply basic biographical information, and all the entries should have comparable tone and style (I can’t imagine many authors would be able to replicate your distinctive style). So maybe you can use your writing skills to produce more of a beginner’s narrative, along the lines of: Alfred Kreymborg was born in 188x, the son of German immigrants. He moved to Greenwich Village in 19xx, where he befriended Alanson Hartpence, and through him got access to Alfred Stieglitz’s studio and the group of experimental artists who gathered there. Check out the bios on modernistmagazines.org to get a sense of the kind of style that’s most helpful to researchers who need the basic facts about a person.

  3. Ellie,
    I really like your use of quotations in this piece, especially in the body paragraphs. The structure is well-organized and imparts a narrative flow that doesn’t feel too stiff or standard. The third paragraph’s description of the intrigue behind the editing of Glebe and Others is particularly interesting. Your discussion of Kreymborg’s contributions to Others establishes a nice transition into his connection to Loy.

    As Royce mentioned, there are a few typos and tense shifts throughout. Additionally, the second paragraph about how Kreymborg does and doesn’t fit into avant-garde conventions is a bit confusing. Some more specificity might help clarify your point here. For example, which conventions did he defy? What was his “unique vision of the 20th Century artists salon”?

    I’m intrigued by Kreymborg and Arensberg’s first meeting. Perhaps by adding a little bit more background to their relationship you could better establish the context for Arensberg’s eventual dropping off the project you mentioned in the third paragraph.
    This is shaping up to be an intimate character study of a fascinating, if difficult personality. Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply