I just can’t quite get out of this Brooklyn literary history theme of the past week — so many planted down here and I still haven’t touched on the contemporary authors who are the current residents — the two Jonathans (Ames and Safran Foer; Lethem split not too long ago) and Jhumpa Lahiri to name a few — so let’s take a look at Fort Greene and the 37 year base for cape and tricornered hat aficionado Marianne Moore. She was born in Kirkwood, Missouri in 1887 and gained attention in 1915 with her first publication, causing the more established poets like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound to take note. In 1929 she moved to 260 Cumberland Street and would live there until 1966 when she moved to Greenwich Village. Moore was a huge baseball fan, specifically the Brooklyn Dodgers, and even threw out the first baseball at a Yankees game. In her poem Baseball and Writing she says:
Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either
how it will go
or what you will do
a fever in the victim–
pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
Victim in what category?
Owlman watching from the press box?
To whom does it apply?
Who is excited? Might it be I?
In the 1950s she took on the role of mentor to a new crop of young poets like Allen Ginsberg and John Ashbery and was even sought out by Ford; they wanted her to come up with a list of names for car, one of which was Utopian Turtletop, for what eventually become the ill-fated Edsel. Moore left Fort Greene for the Village and spent her last years at 35 West 9th Street. She died in 1972.
Who: Marianne Moore
Where: 260 Cumberland Street