20th century American poet, literary critic and editor
Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. The poet earned his AB from the University of North Carolina (1942) and his MA from the University of Chicago (1948). Mr. Carruth was Editor of Poetry magazine, Associate Editor of the University of Chicago Press, and Project Administrator for Intercultural Publications. Since 1953, he worked freelance (copyediting, typing, proofreading) and reviewed books for Hudson Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review as well as various other magazines and newspapers. The Bollingen, Guggenheim and National Foundations all awarded Mr. Carruth various fellowships. Carruth passed away in 2008.
“Over the years many of Carruth's poems have impressed me, sobered me, moved me. In all of them I find qualities I prize and rarely encounter. But what effects me most is the way these qualities combine, their drive toward wholeness––it's how the poet's moments of deep feeling arrive. I’ll say it crudely: they're gobbets rather than feelings, flesh and thought together, as if torn out, something raw. But not at all in the technical sense. It's as if a piece of music were to include the felt outcries of the musicians. These moments are so alive, so immediate, that I take their context to be their actual coming about, something unmediated and direct. The effect is tension, conflict, even harshness, getting ripe and opening into resolutions that are beautiful and exciting. I think there is a very human faith underlying this process, faith not only in art but in some sort of dialectic of error, pain and virtue, the tendency of the spirit to clarify itself.”
— George Dennison on Hayden Carruth
“It is poetry which brings us the kind of satisfaction we associate with the epical sensibility: a communion–but concrete, nothing hazy or suppressive of individual consciousness–in a known world. ”
“They are poems I would like to have written, which I say without envy, as one does in the face of transient perfection.”
“Poems a fortiori, poems with the shock of rightness––Cid Corman's poems. The look of delicacy is deceptive. More often it's leanness, poems growing from their own center––no influences, no formal props––then taking us back to that center by the shortest route. There, at center, leanness & rightness become song, an intensity of meaning that makes words pure. We know we have experienced real poetry because we have been where poetry really is…
— Hayden Carruth on Cid Corman's
“No synopsis conveys the quality of this now famous novel about an hallucinated Germany in collapse after World War II. John Hawkes, in his search for a means to transcend outworn modes of fictional realism, has discovered a highly original technique for objectifying the perennial degradation of mankind within a context of fantasy… Nowhere has the nightmare of human terror and the deracinated sensibility been more concisely analyzed than in The Cannibal. Yet one is aware throughout that such analysis proceeds only in terms of a resolutely committed humanism.
“In terms of language Corso always seems to me the most interesting of the Beats . . . extracting all the power from standard syntax and rhetoric, maintaining the Beat anti-academicism .. . . Put this together with the experimentalism and relevance of the Beat outlook, and you have poetry that not only shares our experience but creates it.”
“...this ecstasy, ecstasy in language, in beautiful language, is what carries me through the entire trilogy, not only content with her trick...not only content with these high-handed fictions but enchanted with her whole poem, not to say enraptured.”