When the poet Marianne Moore completed her education at Bryn Mawr in 1909 she was qualified to teach typing. When she left her job at Carlisle Indian School in 1915 the typing she was doing was eventually regarded as world class poetry. The effect of that experience in the formation of her poetic sensibility is a matter of considerable debate in literary circles. Did any Carlisle students in that era ever document their recollections of her career there?
This is a really interesting topic. I haven't seen any first person accounts of student relationships with Moore, although there is an interview in which she describes relationships with students. I'd love to look a little deeper, but in the meantime, would it be ok with you if I copy your message to a new post with a more relevant subject heading? Thanks, Barb Landis
Hi Barbara,That's fine. My intent is not to slight the work of Ms. Thomason, but to look at the grounds for some of its appeal. A blog where I sometimes comment is run by someone doing research on Moore and it got me thinking about what got her going as a poet. I'm beginning to think that critics may have underestimated the influence of her experience at Carlisle. I was born in Lawrence, Kansas on the KU campus while my dad was in grad school. His first job where he had a secretary was at the V.A. in Topeka. The woman he hired was a Shawnee who I think graduated from Haskell. He still has the hand-beaded leather belt she gave him as thanks for hiring her.My mother's family moved from Coshocton, Ohio to South Bend,Indiana during the Civil War. Her great great grandmother was born in Ohio in 1803, and I'm told her maiden name was Officer as her father's name was recorded as David Officer. So far no record of her mother has surfaced. I think she may have been Lenape or Delaware, born to parents who were small children at the time of the Gnadenhutten Massacre in 1782.My great great great grandfather, Nathan Cordray, was the census enumerator in 1860 for the five Coshocton county townships along the Tuscarawas River between the town of Coshocton and the Tuscarawas county line. Nathan and his wife, Mary Ann (Officer) Cordray, had a daughter, Lydia Ann, who bore seven daughters and three sons to a man named Alexander Price. The three youngest of the seven Price sisters, Angie, Emma and Laura, have features that look Native American to me. You can see pictures of them on my blog from a family reunion photo taken in 1902. Nativity was a big issue in Moore's poetry. Assimilation as a process wasn't confined to the reservations in my view. The reservation system provided a means to create the illusion that Native American ethnicity represents a tiny fraction of the American populace. The fact, however, may be that most Americans have some native heritage and simply aren't aware of it.Craig
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