Megan Schoerke's fresh take on the "arch-modernist" Marianne Moore (1887-1972) begins with an unusual source, Moore's letters to her family held at Philadelphia's Rosenbach Library and Museum and now in print. The correspondence shows to what degree Moore's poetry subverts and parodies the elitism of High Modernism of the first half of the 20th Century, and the heavy Presbyterianism in which her close-knit family was imbued. Schoerke's research into Moore's process reveals her as a textual cousin of Gertrude Stein, a radical poet whose experiments with "coding" and encryption allow a doubleness of reception made singularly clear to us for the first time.
Megan Schoerke is an assistant professor of English at San Francisco State University. Her essay "Efforts of Affection: Marianne
Moore's Elegies for Her Mother" will be published in the forthcoming Critical Essays on Marianne Moore, edited by Elizabeth
Gregory. We nabbed her in the nick of time, as she has recently won a year-long writing fellowship at the Tanner Humanities Center at
the University of Utah.
May 8, 1998