ocean, it would not be the first time that our most indigenous art has

reacted upon the art of older nations. Besides Poe--who, though

indigenous in ways too subtle for brief analysis, yet passed all

frontiers in his swift, sad flight--the two American artists of widest

influence, Whitman and Whistler, have been intensely American in

temperament and in the special spiritual quality of their art.

If Whistler was the first great artist to accept the modern message in

Oriental art, if Whitman was the first great modern poet to discard the

limitations of conventional form: if both were more free, more

individual, than their contemporaries, this was the expression of their

Americanism, which may perhaps be defined as a spiritual independence

and love of adventure inherited from the pioneers. Foreign artists are

usually the first to recognize this new tang; one detects the influence

of the great dead poet and dead painter in all modern art which looks

forward instead of back; and their countrymen, our own contemporary

poets and painters, often express indirectly, through French influences,

a reaction which they are reluctant to confess directly.

A lighter phase of this foreign enthusiasm for the American tang is

confessed by Signor Marinetti, the Italian "futurist", when in his

article on 'Futurism and the Theatre', in 'The Mask', he urges the

revolutionary value of "American eccentrics", citing the fundamental

primitive quality in their vaudeville art. This may be another statement

of Mr. Lindsay's plea for a closer relation between the poet and his

audience, for a return to the healthier open-air conditions, and

immediate personal contacts, in the art of the Greeks and of primitive

nations. Such conditions and contacts may still be found, if the world

only knew it, in the wonderful song-dances of the Hopis and others of

our aboriginal tribes. They may be found, also, in a measure, in the

quick response between artist and audience in modern vaudeville. They

are destined to a wider and higher influence; in fact, the development

of that influence, the return to primitive sympathies between artist and

audience, which may make possible once more the assertion of primitive

creative power, is recognized as the immediate movement in modern art.

It is a movement strong enough to persist in spite of extravagances and

absurdities; strong enough, it may be hoped, to fulfil its purpose and

revitalize the world.

It is because Mr. Lindsay's poetry seems to be definitely in that

movement that it is, I think, important.

Harriet Monroe.

Table of Contents

Introduction. By Harriet Monroe

First Section

Poems intended to be read aloud, or chanted.

The Congo

The Santa Fe Trail

The Firemen's Ball

The Master of the Dance

The Mysterious Cat

A Dirge for a Righteous Kitten

Yankee Doodle

The Black Hawk War of the Artists

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