Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Laura Riding

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Pen name
Laura Riding

Laura Riding



Laura Riding Laura Riding Jackson Against the Commodity of the Poem

16 January 1901New York City (

Robert Graves (1929–1936)

September 2, 1991, Sebastian, Florida, United States

Cornell University (1918–1921)

Schuyler Jackson (m. 1941), Louis R. Gottschalk (m. 1920–1925)

Anarchism is not enough, Progress of stories, Rational meaning, Contemporaries and snobs, The telling

Similar People
Robert Graves, Louis R Gottschalk, John Ashbery, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire

Literary movement
Modernism, Fugitives

Robert Graves y Laura Riding (Alejandro Dolina) 09/03/2018

Laura "Riding" Jackson (January 16, 1901 – September 2, 1991) was an American poet, critic, novelist, essayist and short story writer.


Laura Riding Vanderbilt University Special Collections Digital

Poetry Reading: 'The Wind Suffers' by Laura Riding Jackson

Early life

Laura Riding httpswwwpoetsorgsitesdefaultfilesstyles2

She was born Laura Reichenthal in New York to a family of Austrian Jewish immigrants, and educated at Cornell University, where she began to write poetry, publishing first (1923–26) under the name Laura Riding Gottschalk. She became associated with the Fugitives through Allen Tate, and they published her poems in The Fugitive magazine. Her first marriage, to historian Louis R. Gottschalk (1899–1975), ended in divorce in 1925, at the end of which year she went to England at the invitation of Robert Graves and his wife Nancy Nicholson. She would remain in Europe for nearly fourteen years.


Laura Riding Laura Riding Jackson Laura Riding Jackson Foundation

The excitement stirred by Laura Riding's poems is hinted at in Sonia Raiziss' later description: "When The Fugitive (1922–1925) flashed down the new sky of American poetry, it left a brilliant scatter of names: Ransom, Tate, Warren, Riding, Crane.... Among them, the inner circle and those tangent to it as contributors, there was no one quite like Laura Riding." ("An Appreciation," Chelsea 12 1962, 28.) Riding's first collection of poetry, The Close Chaplet, was published in 1926, and during the following year she assumed the surname Riding. By this time the originality of her poetry was becoming ever more evident: generally she favoured a distinctive form of free verse over conventional metres. She, Robert Graves and Nancy Nicholson lived in London until Riding's failed suicide attempt in 1927. It is generally agreed that this episode was a major cause of the break-up of Graves's first marriage: the whole affair caused a famous literary scandal.

Thereafter, until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Riding and Graves lived in Deià, Majorca, where they were visited by writers and artists including James Reeves, Norman Cameron, John Aldridge, Len Lye, Jacob Bronowski and Honor Wyatt. The house is now a museum. Progress of Stories (1935) would later be highly esteemed by, among others, John Ashbery and Harry Mathews. Between 1936 and 1939, Riding and Graves lived in England, France and Switzerland; Graves accompanied Riding on her return to the USA in 1939.

Riding and Graves were highly productive from the start of their association, though after they moved to Majorca they became even more so. While still in London they had set up (1927) the Seizin Press, collaborated on A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927) (which inspired Empson to write Seven Types of Ambiguity and was in some respects the seed of the New Criticism), A Pamphlet Against Anthologies (1928) and other works. In Majorca, the Seizin Press was enlarged to become a publishing imprint, producing inter alia the substantial hardbound critical magazine Epilogue (1935–1938), edited by Riding with Graves as associate editor. Throughout their association both steadily produced volumes of major poetry, culminating for each with a Collected Poems in 1938.

Graves and Riding left Majorca in 1936, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, they moved to the United States and took lodging in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Their changing relationship is described by Elizabeth Friedmann in A Mannered Grace, by Richard Perceval Graves in Robert Graves: 1927–1940, The Years with Laura and by T. S. Matthews in Jacks or Better (1977; UK edition published as Under the Influence, 1979) and also was the basis for Miranda Seymour's novel The Summer of '39 (1998). In 1939 Riding and Graves parted and in 1941 she married Schuyler B. Jackson, eventually settling in Wabasso, Florida, where she lived quietly and simply until her death in 1991, Schuyler having died in 1968. The vernacular "cracker" house in which they lived has been renovated and preserved by the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation.

According to Graves' biographer Richard Perceval Graves, Riding played a crucial role in the development of Graves' thoughts when writing his book The White Goddess, despite the fact the two were estranged at that point. On reviewing the book, Riding was furious, saying "Where once I reigned, now a whorish abomination has sprung to life, a Frankenstein pieced together from the shards of my life and thoughts."

Renunciation of poetry

In about 1941, Riding renounced poetry, but it was fifteen to twenty years before she felt able to begin explaining her reasons and exploring her unfolding findings. She withdrew from public literary life, working with Schuyler Jackson on a dictionary (published posthumously in 1997) that would lead them into an exploration of the foundations of meaning and language. In April 1962, she read "Introduction for a Broadcast" for the BBC Third Programme, her first formal statement of her reasons for renouncing poetry (there had been a brief reference book entry in 1955). An expanded version of the piece was published that year in the New York magazine Chelsea, which also published "Further on Poetry" in 1964, writings on the theme of women-and-men in 1965 and 1974 and in 1967, The Telling.

Later writings

The 62 numbered passages of The Telling, a "personal evangel", formed the "core part" of a book of the same title, thought by some to be her most important book alongside Collected Poems. Writings and publications continued to flow throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties, as Laura (Riding) Jackson (her authorial name from 1963–64) explored what she regarded as the truth-potential of language, free from the artificial restrictions of poetic art. "My faith in poetry was at heart a faith in language as the elementary wisdom," she had written in 1976 ("The Road To, In, And Away From, Poetry", Reader 251). Her later writings attest to what she regarded as the truth-potential contained in language and in the human mind. She might be regarded as a spiritual teacher whose unusually high valuation of language, led her to choose literature as the locus of her work.

Two issues of Chelsea were given over to new writings by her, It Has Taken Long (1976) and The Sufficient Difference (2001). Publication of her work has continued since her death in 1991, including First Awakenings (her early poems) (1992), Rational Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words (1997), The Poems of Laura Riding, A Newly Revised Edition of the 1938/1980 Collection (2001), Under The Mind's Watch (2004), The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language (2007), and On the Continuing of the Continuing (2008). The latest book to appear is her two-volume literary memoirs, The Person I Am (2011). Her works have been published in France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Brazil and Norway.


Laura Riding Wikipedia

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