Poet Marianne Moore on the creative benefits of scientific rigor

Born in 1887, Moore became the most influential female poet of the modernist period. And at midcentury, an unlikely American celebrity.

Here’s a fascinating passage from her 1960 Paris Review interview . . . .

Interviewer: I wonder what Bryn Mawr meant for you as a poet. You write that most of your time there was spent in the biological laboratory. Did you like biology better than literature as a subject for study? Did the training possibly affect your poetry?

Moore: Did laboratory studies affect my poetry? I am sure they did. I found the biology courses — minor, major, and histology — exhilarating. I thought, in fact, of studying medicine. Precision, economy of statement, logic employed to ends that are disinterested, drawing and identifying, [can] liberate — at least have some bearing on — the imagination, it seems to me.

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Writer at large, Ph.D. in interdisciplinary humanities. Persistently curious! Creating “The Constance Project” and a new Tarot book. www.cynthiagiles.com

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