Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

When Alyse Gregory, in 1925, decided to leave her position as Acting Editor at The Dial in order to follow her husband Llewelyn Powys to England, Marianne Moore took over. In her book of reminiscences The Day Is Gone, Alyse Gregory describes her as she was then:
    Slim and straight, dressed in a sober and original manner, with a mass of beautiful, fine, reddish hair, coiled in broad shining plaits about her small head, Miss Moore combined delicacy of observation with vigor of mind.
    (...) Wealth of intellect is (...) what characterizes Miss Moore — intellect disinterested and voracious, lingering in peculiar side-paths, storing all in the memory, disconnected yet relevant, excited yet attentive, and always animated with modesty and humor.
    (...) I would not be giving a true picture of this eloquent poet did I not mention her courage, a courage that yields no inch to circumstance.
Marianne Moore by George Platt Lynes
Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division

Marianne Moore was born in St Louis, Missouri and studied at Bryn Mawr. After having taught at the U.S. Indian school in Carlisle, Penn., she came to work at the New York Public Library, and then joined the staff of Thayer & Watson's The Dial magazine until it was finally discontinued with the July issue, 1929. In her book Predilections, she described the place with affection:
    I think of the compacted pleasantness of those days at 152 West Thirteenth Street; of the three-story brick building with carpeted stairs, fireplace and white-mantelpiece rooms, business office in the first story front parlor, and in gold-leaf block letters, THE DIAL, on the windows to the right of the brownstone steps leading to the front door.
    There was for us of the staff, whatever the impression outside, a constant atmosphere of excited triumph; and from editor or publisher, inherent fireworks of parenthetic wit too good to print. (Predilections, The Viking Press, New York, 1955)
Among the many people she was to meet while working at The Dial, JCP gets an amused aside of a few lines:
    John Cowper Powys, inalienable verbalist and student of strangeness, inventor of the term "fairy cardinal" for Padraic Colum, seemed himself a supernatural being; so good a Samaritan, any other phase of endowment was almost an overplus. As Mrs Watson said of his conversation, "He is so intense, you don't know whether he's talking or listening." (Predilections)

Sea Unicorns and Land Unicorns (Extract)

Upon the printed page,
also by word of mouth,
we have a record of it all
and how, unfearful of deceit,
etched like an equine monster on an old celestial map,
beside a cloud of dress of Virgin-Mary
improved "all over slightly with snakes of Venice gold,
and silver, and some O's,"
the unicorn "with pavon high," approaches eagerly;
until engrossed by what appears of this strange enemy,
upon the map, "upon her lap,"
its "mild wild head doth lie."

Marianne Moore, The Dial, November 1924