The Ghetto and Other Poems

Lola Ridge

Poetry.

Southpaw Culture
Factory School, 2006.
110 pages, perfect bound, 5.5x7.5.

ISBN 1-60001-991-9
$14 / $10 direct order

Available in June 2006.

Bulk discounts available for classroom use.

From the back cover:

The Ghetto and Other Poems, Lola Ridge’s major collection of poems, was first published in New York by B.W. Huebsch in 1918. This study of the Lower East Side immigrant subcultures by an Australian-born radical activist is a classic work of poetry and urban studies.

“Two Lola Ridges are revealed in her book. One is the artist. The other is the radical. Sometimes the two are merged. In ‘The Ghetto’ the primary interest lies in Miss Ridge’s powers of observation and in the originality of her report. Others of her poems owe their chief interest to her passionate sympathy with the under-dog and with all the movements that make for rebellion and freedom. Lola Ridge makes no plea for popular favor. She knows, as every revolutionary knows, that only a few will understand, and that fewer still will like what she has to offer. Her dedication is ‘To the American People’ in these lines:

Will you feast with me, American People?
But what have I that shall seem good to you!

On my board are bitter apples
And honey served on thorns,
And in my flagons fluid iron,
Hot from the crucibles.

How should such fare entice you!“

A certain bitter quality pervades the entire book. Night hangs over it. Cold winds chill it. Livid faces peer through it. Hoboes, derelicts, outcasts, are described in crisp little phrases that bite deep into the mind. Flaming indignation against cruelty and injustice; the fighting spirit of labor; the multi-colored dreams of idealists appear as a foil to these drab portrayals of the under-world. The deepest note of the book is an unfaltering loyalty to the revolutionary ideal.”
— Leonard Dalton Abbott, “An Anarchist Poet”
The Modern School, January 1919

 

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