Biography of Eunice Tietjens
Eunice Tietjens (July 29, 1884 - September 6, 1944) was an American poet, novelist, journalist, children's author, lecturer, and editor.
Born as Eunice Strong Hammond in Chicago on July 29, 1884, she was educated in Europe and travelled heavily. She lived in Florida, New York, Japan, China, Tahiti and Tunisia, among other places.
Tietjens was a World War I correspondent for the Chicago Daily News in France, 1917-1918. Her poems had already begun to be published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, the noted poetry magazine, around 1913. She later became publisher Harriet Monroe’s associate editor there for more than twenty-five years. Tietjens' was considered a more patient and generous editor, whose style contrasted sharply with that of Monroe, who was not known to treat would-be contributors with "kid gloves".
One collection of stories, "Burton Holmes Travel Stories: Japan, Korea and Formosa" (1924) contains lively descriptions of East Asian countries. By contemporary standards, the stories seem provincial and quaintly Eurocentric. The stories contain descriptions of nationalities and ethnicities that can be understood to be racist. Here's an excerpt:
"...For a great many years this island of Formosa was a terror that haunted all the Western sailors who sailed in those seas. The sea around it is the birthplace of terrible tropical typhoons, which spring up suddenly and sweep helpless ships onto the sharp cliffs, where they are dashed to pieces. And, before Japan tamed her tiger, if a few poor half-drowned sailors managed to land, they were usually captured by the savages who lived there and killed by them. Their heads were preserved as trophies and their bodies eaten, for these savages were cannibals."
Her first husband was Paul Tietjens, whom she married in 1904 and by whom she had a daughter, Janet T. Hart. They divorced in 1914 and she remarried in 1920 to Cloyd Head, playwright and theatrical director, by whom she had a son, Marshall Head.
She died in 1944 in her hometown of Chicago, aged 60 from cancer.
Eunice Tietjens Poems
The Steam Shovel
Beneath my window in a city street A monster lairs, a creature huge and grim And only half believed: the strength of him—
The Most-Sacred Mountain
Space, and the twelve clean winds of heaven, And this sharp exultation, like a cry, after the slow six thousand steps of climbing! This is Tai Shan, the beautiful, the most holy.
Beautiful and rich is an old friendship, Grateful to the touch as ancient ivory, Smooth as aged wine, or sheen of tapestry
The tulips now are pushing up Like small green knuckles through the ground. The grass is young and doubtful yet,
To Amy Lowell
who visits me in a hospital Like a fleet with bellying sails,
The Great Man
CANNOT always feel his greatness. Sometimes he walks beside me, step by step, And paces slowly in the ways— The simple, wingless ways
The Drug Clerk
The drug clerk stands behind the counter Young and dapper and debonair…. Before him burn the great unwinking lights
The Bacchante To Her Babe
Scherzo COME, sprite, and dance! The sun is up, The wind runs laughing down the sky That brims with morning like a cup.
Presence Of Eternity
The stone grows old. Eternity is not for stones. But I shall go down from this airy space, this swift white peace, this stinging exultation;
The Drug Clerk
The drug clerk stands behind the counter
Young and dapper and debonair….
Before him burn the great unwinking lights
The hectic stars of city nights,
Red as hell's pit, green as a mermaid's hair.
A queer half-acrid smell is in the air.
Behind him on the shelves in ordered rows
With strange, abbreviated names