Richard Eberhart’s Poetic Theory: Art and Craft

J. Karthikeyan, Laxmi Dhar Dwivedi


This paper is a maiden attempt to bring a promising, independent and prolific poet, richard eberhart to the fore, and to focus attention on the most dominating and pervasive theme in his poetry. His central theme of mortality is like a lofty mountain that dominates the entire landscape of his works. No matter what the road the reader takes, what pass he treads, he would find the mountain bursting on his vision at every turn of the way and at every parting of the hills.

The secret of his upheld popularity rests on his uniquely strong individuality, romantic mould, spasmodic vigor, simplicity of expression and a deep concern for mankind. Kenneth Rexroth has rightly remarked that Eberhart is the poet of the academies. His long teaching experience, in school, navy and colleges; ‘independent intelligence’ and imaginative fervor, confirm the indisputable statement. He is a poet who is greatly indebted to tradition as far as the influences are concerned but he owes equally to ‘traditionless’ experiments. He attempts neither influences nor ‘traditionless’ experiments for its own sake, unless it contributes to the aesthetic integrity. He is totally devoted and sincerely dedicated to the writing of poetry but never considers it as an accident. He has a high notion of poetry like the Emersonian transcendental value of poetry. He feels that a successful poem is a proportionate blending of feeling and ideas:

Poetry is the heart and head. If it is all heart, it may become soft. If it is all head, it becomes arid. (Opp,5)

Here is a poet who vows to live for poetry:

Some of our best poets have died for poetry by suicide. Poets should not die but should live for it. I deplore the suicides of these people.

(Ralph J.Mills. Richard Eberhart, 13)

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