Walter de la Mare’s Eccentric, Haunted, Sonically Rich Poetry

Declan Ryan at Poetry Magazine:

“Many of his poems are at best rococo vases of an eighteenth century artificiality, insisted on in our strenuous age though thrones go toppling down.” Such was Harriet Monroe’s verdict on the British writer Walter de la Mare in a review she wrote for Poetry in 1919. Her appraisal echoed several persistent criticisms of de la Mare’s poems: the frequent use of inversion, the decorated lexicon, the never-fashionable attempt to paint a sort of Elfland, and the clinging to the primacy of childhood.

That said, from the time when de la Mare first came to widespread public attention, via his collections The Listeners (1912) and Peacock Pie (1913) and the hugely popular Georgian Poetry anthologies, of which he was a staple, he grew into a lauded—if always defiantly eccentric—figure. He was celebrated by some of the leading (and most skeptical) poets and critics of his era, such as Edward Thomas and Robert Frost.

more here.