In honor of April being National Poetry Month, today I present a picture-essay of Poet’s Row,Poet's Row sign, Capitol Hill, Denver 2009 a street on Capitol Hill (on Sherman, between 10th and 11th) featuring 9 old buildings named after writers, not all of whom are known as poets. I noticed that the Robert Frost buildingPoet's Row, Frost Building, Capitol Hill, Denver 2009 is up the street from the Beauvallon in the Golden Triangle. Beauvallon as seen from Dazzle Supper Club, Denver 2009I see a similarity in the style of the window gratings, but can that one detail be used as the basis for a poet-to-building comparison? In other words, do you think there is any way in which Robert Frost’s poetry resembles this monstrously beige building? calls Frost (1874–1963) “a quintessentially modern poet in his adherence to language as it is actually spoken, in the psychological complexity of his portraits, and in the degree to which his work is infused with layers of ambiguity and irony.” I’m not sure I would call the Beauvallon modern, but I could accuse it of having layers, I suppose.

Frost died in January 1963, several months after I was born. He is one of my youngest sister’s favorite poets.

It may be charitably guessed
Comparison is not her quest.

from “Two Leading Lights”

I had never read that particular poem before, and I found it somewhat sexist, which reminded me of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s (1804–1864)Hawthorne building, Poet's Row, Denver 2009 complaint about “scribbling women” taking away book sales from more deserving writers. Searching for that phrase on Google led me to this site. Of the 15 stories turned into radio plays there, I’ve read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” While writing this post, I listened to “The Stones of the Village” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875–1935).

James Russell Lowell (1819–1891) called Hawthorne’s 1851 novel The House of the Seven Gables “the most valuable contribution to New England history that has been made.” Of himself, Lowell said, “I am the first poet who has endeavored to express the American Idea, and I shall be popular by and by.” (Those of us who are writers certainly know that feeling.) Whether Lowell’s first sentiment is accurate, I don’t know, but quintessentially American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892), who has no building on Poet’s Row, called Lowell James Russell Lowell building, Poet's Row, Denver 2009“not a grower—he was a builder. He built poems: he didn’t put in the seed, and water the seed, and send down his sun—letting the rest take care of itself: he measured his poems—kept them within formula.” Is it inappropriate that the doorway of a “builder” is dappled with the shadows of leaves?

Russell is known as the author of the 1848 book-length poem A Fable for Critics, which I have not read, but I can imagine he would have a few things to say about my silly juxtapositions here. Amy Lowell, his descendant (1874–1925), made him a character in her 1922 poem “A Critical Fable.”

“Hero-Worship” by Amy Lowell
A face seen passing in a crowded street,
A voice heard singing music, large and free;
And from that moment life is changed, and we
Become of more heroic temper, meet
To freely ask and give, a man complete
Radiant because of faith, we dare to be
What Nature meant us.  Brave idolatry
Which can conceive a hero!  No deceit,
No knowledge taught by unrelenting years,
Can quench this fierce, untamable desire.
We know that what we long for once achieved
Will cease to satisfy.  Be still our fears;
If what we worship fail us, still the fire
Burns on, and it is much to have believed.

Of all the writers on Poet’s Row, I would prefer this blog post be judged by Mark Twain (1835–1910), Mark Twain building, Poet's Row, Denver 2009because at least that would make me laugh: “Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”

Does anyone else think it appropriate that the doorway for Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) has no number?Emily Dickinson building, Poet's Row, Denver 2009

Leave A Comment

  1. BernardL April 7, 2009 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Very insightful post. I would say it is most difficult to critique statements from a world past with today’s labels. I would have put a number on the Emily Dickinson building. 🙂

  2. Catherine April 7, 2009 at 7:58 am - Reply

    I love the font on the Twain and Hawthorne buildings. I’m learning so much about Denver from you!

    Catherine’s last blog post..Scenic

  3. Catherine April 7, 2009 at 7:59 am - Reply

    I also like the new format, I usually read you in a feed reader. I love orange. The new theme is very crisp.

    Catherine’s last blog post..Scenic

  4. Beth Partin April 7, 2009 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Thanks, Catherine. That’s what I want–to tell people about Denver.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Capitol Hill: The Poetry of Denver’s Buildings

  5. saint facetious April 7, 2009 at 10:06 am - Reply

    I’ve always liked the Robert Frost and the Mark Twain. I think those are the best on the block. As for the monstrosity that is the Beauvallon… I think it was going for the Park Avenue look, rather than a naturalist Frost poem. I think, maybe, the building will look better in a hundred years when it’s surrounded by other towers. Incidentally, you should note the Charlie Brown bar one block away, where Kerouac and Ginsberg and Cassady used to hang. It’s odd that none of them got a building named after him, since none of the above poets actually ever lived in Denver and they all spent a substantial amount of time here.

    saint facetious’s last blog post..Languages and more languages

  6. Beth Partin April 7, 2009 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I think Kerouac and Ginsberg and Cassady are still too anti-establishment for some people. All the redevelopment in Denver in the 1970s was designed to eliminate the kind of places where they hung out.

    And I do want to go to Charlie Brown’s–just haven’t gotten there yet.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Capitol Hill, Denver: Church and State

  7. Todd Bradley April 7, 2009 at 11:19 am - Reply

    This is a cool article.

    But, I hate to break this to you: you don’t have a younger sister. Your sisters are both older than you.

    Todd Bradley’s last blog post..Cheerleader Ninjas

  8. Beth Partin April 7, 2009 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I meant to say “youngest.”

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Capitol Hill: The Poetry of Denver’s Buildings

  9. BernardL April 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Very insightful post, Beth. I would say it is most difficult to critique statements from a world past with today’s labels.

    I think a number on the Emily Dickinson building would have been fitting. Her use of language was very precise.

  10. Beth Partin April 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Yes, she was precise, Bernard, but I also think she’s difficult to categorize. That’s why I said that.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Capitol Hill: The Poetry of Denver’s Buildings

  11. bets April 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    Cool pix. I really like the Mark Twain sign.

    bets’s last blog post..marriage

  12. Beth Partin April 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    I do too. I think the same architect must have done Mark Twain and Hawthorne.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Golden Triangle, Denver: To Splurge?