March 1944

by Paul Durica

When the nation went to war in 1941, several contributors to Poetry went with it. Even editor Peter De Vries served for a time. After being inducted at Fort Sheridan outside Chicago, he was sent to Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas, where his work brought him unex- pected attention. “In the course of processing I encountered another officer,” wrote De Vries to business manager Geraldine Udell, “who, glancing at my occupational report, leaned back, sucked on his coke, laced his fingers behind his head and asked for my opinion on every contemporary poet in the land while buck privates pile up behind me like a log jam.” High blood pressure and a persistent sinus infection cut short DeVries’s military career. Poetry’s greatest contribution to the war effort involved the promotion of Liberty Bonds. Appearing alongside this Liberty Bond advertisement from March 1944 is one for a book by respected Canadian poet A.J.M. Smith and one for New World Poems, purportedly written by Chinese-American poet Chen Wei Lu but actually the work of Wisconsin-born Granville Trace and published by the Colony Press, based in the then-utopian community of Atascadero, California, founded by St. Louis publisher Edgar G. Lewis.

Originally Published: March 1, 2012

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This prose originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012

Biography

Paul Durica is a graduate student at the University of Chicago and the founder of Pocket Guide to Hell Tours and Reenactments.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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