Marianne Moore: Poetry

June 20, 2013

“Enough, 1969

Filed under: Poem Sources — by moore123 @ 6:53 pm

New Yorker for Enough 1969“Enough, 1969”

The New Yorker, 46 (January 17, 1970), p. 28.

This twelve-line poem appeared first in the magazine, next in the second edition of Complete Poems, 1981, p. 245. Moore sent the poem to the New Yorker probably in late 1968, to judge by letters she received from editor Howard Moss in early 1969. Moore titled the poem, in manuscript, “Enough, 1969.”

In his first letter, January 21, 1969, Moss reports that the magazine would take the poem and attends to some housekeeping duties, rewording line 9 for syntax, quotation marks around Jonson’s “Discoveries,” and the like. In his third letter, February 20, Moss says that fact checkers have found that Moore misquoted Jonson by omitting the word “and” in the last line. Moore agreed to it all.

But in his second letter, February 11, which accompanied a galley proof with more questions, Moss tells Moore that he doesn’t like the “1969” of the title because it suggests that the poem is suitable only to that calendar year (perhaps he knows that the poem will not see print until 1970) and that it more universal meaning than that implies. So, “1969” disappears.

What Moss did not see, and what Moore did not insist on, was that this “Enough” echoes another “Enough” with the subtitle “Jamestown, 1607-1957,” published in the Virginia Quarterly Review in 1957. A meditation on the Jamestown settlement at the time of its 350th anniversary, what it shares with the later poem is the question of permanence, survival, the ship “Discovery” and Ben Jonson’s “Discoveries.”

When the poem was reprinted in Complete Poems 1981, the year “1969” was restored and the last line returned to Moore’s original wording.

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