University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Adler, Philip A. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XVI, Number 4 (January 1917)

Meyer, Ernest L.; Organ, Manual
An introduction to ultra-violet poetry,   pp. 111-112

Page 111

An Introduction to Ultra-Violet Poetry
T      HE Wisconsin Literary Magazine stands for the
exchange of ideas. It also welcomes original-
ity in the medium with which this change is effected.
It is with pleasure, therefore, that the "Lit" introduces
the Ultra-Violet school of poetry, which, while in
form akin to the older schools of free verse, is in con-
tent an original departure along lines that assures for
itself a warm reception and a long life.
Ultra-Violet poetry owes its inception to pure
chance, partaking of the nature of sudden inspiration.
It originated with Prof. X (a distant relation of Mad-
ame X) who, listening to a piano recital one day last
week, found himself thinking, not of winged seraphs,
or love, or voices of departed friends, or any of a
thousand commonplace things, but of three ringtailed
baboons seated on a can of kerosene and playing Yan-
kee Doodle on a clamshell. Amazed at the phenom-
enon, Prof. X set down his impression in the form of
free verse, the first of the Ultra-Violet school.
It will be observed that the basic principle of the
new school is the association of ideas ordinarily unas-
sociated. To the unimaginative, this savors of insan-
ity; but the psychologist recognizes the phenomenon,
while the poet goes a step farther and sees in it the
highest manifestation of inspiration. One man, says
the poet, sees a tomcat on a back fence and thinks of
brickbats and shotguns, which is banality and matter-
of-fact prose; another man sees the same cat and im-
mediately associates it with false teeth and a lawn
party in Chicago, which is genius and Ultra-Violet
An analysis of Blossom 449 A will make clear this
Blossom 449, A
Four freckled dumplings in a plate of soup,
A moon of damask steel above the pine;
A pound of lead, a hungry colored man
Oh, heart of mine!
This linking of ideas that are apparently at the op-
posite ends of the impressionistic gamut may seem to
the bourgeois a mere freak of corrupted fancy, or a
senseless striving after originality at the expense of any
semblance of probability. But to the elect few, there
are subtle connecting links between the ideas which
escape the notice of minds hampered and atrophied
by dusty literary conventions. What grounds are
there, for instance, for associating the idea of a pound
of lead with a hungry colored man? None! say you.
Then you damn yourself forever as a person obviously
and utterly devoid of any vestige of imagination. Your
mind, in a flash, should reason as follows: a pound of
lead is a weight; a wait is a pause; a pause is a short
stop; a short stop is a ball player; a ball player is a
foul grabber; a fowl grabber is a hungry negro. We
have pointed out these links at the risk of indicating
the obvious; yet so greatly has the imagination degen-
erated that the ordinary person can establish no con-
nection whatever between a pound of lead and a hun-
gry, colored man except through the medium of a
To encourage the growth of the new school of
verse, the Lit will hold a page open to contributors,
and as an inducement will offer a standing prize-not
a loving cup or a year's subscription, which the word
commonly connotes-but an excellent chrome-leather
shoe, filled with the right foot of the editor and deliv-
ered in person in the most appropriate anatomical re-
gion of the winner.       ERNEST L. MEYER.
The Only Begettum of this Wreath.
0; spectro poet,
With mind like a mad mole
'hose thoughts like spectres go it,
Each on a separate sole.
Is it enough to have uttered,
The madness of a mullah,
And many white leaves cluttered
With dull black marks, and duller?
I knew a writer whose two pens,
One stub, one fine,
Would scrawl
Words intense as ink is dense:
He has children nine,
They all bawl.
Blossom 16
Last night
I sought the place where I died,
And I found it.
There was a laurel there,
And a stately marble shaft
And a bronze tablet.
But I hate the smell of bay rum.

Go up to Top of Page