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Branching Out Milwaukee: Mary Jo Salter on Marianne Moore
A prim and proper representative of the avant-garde. A private, single woman who lived with her mother, counted many (misbehaving) great writers as her friends, and famously influenced the course of American letters. A modest person who saluted boldness. A city-dweller who was a close observer of animals. An artist who embraced science. A punctilious failure at punctuation. A writer of prose that sounded like poetry and of poetry that sounded like prose. A woman writer revered by male writers in her lifetime, when women were often dismissed (at least until they were properly dead). And finally, a markedly original craftswoman with one foot in the 19th century into which she was born, and another foot in our 21st century and beyond. Marianne Moore's achievement abounds in paradoxes which continue to fascinate poets and readers today.