Biography of James Oppenheim
James Oppenheim (1882-1932), was an American poet, novelist, and editor.
A lay analyst and early follower of C. G. Jung, Oppenheim was also the founder and editor of The Seven Arts, an important early 20th-century literary magazine. Oppenheim depicted labor troubles with Fabian and suffragist themes in his novel, The Nine-Tenths (1911) and in his famous poem Bread and Roses (1911). The slogan Bread and Roses is now commonly associated with the pivotal 1912 textile workers' strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The poem was later set to music in 1976 by Mimi Fariña and again in 1990 by John Denver.
Oppenheim was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 24, 1882, the son of Joseph and Matilda (Schloss) Oppenheim. He studied at Columbia University. Oppenheim married Lucy Seckel and had two children, Ralph and James Jr. (alias Garrett)
Oppenheim was assistant head worker at the Hudson Guild Settlement in New York from 1901-03. He then worked as a teacher and acting superintendent at the Hebrew Technical School For Girls in New York from 1905-07.
Oppenheim's published works include Pay Envelopes (1911); The Nine-Tenths(1911); The Olympian (1912); Idle Wives (1914); Songs For The New Age (1914); The Beloved (1915); War and Laughter (1916); The Book Of Self (1917); The Solitary (1919); The Mystic Warrior (1921); Golden Bird (1923); The Sea (collected poetry - 1924); Behind Your Front (1926); and American Types: A Preface To Analytic Psychology (1931). Additionally, he contributed short stories, articles, and poems to American Magazine, American Mercury, Century, Collier's, Freeman, Harper's, Hearst's, New Republic, and The Thinker. Oppenheim served as the editor for The Seven Arts magazine, where he worked with Waldo Frank, George Jean Nathan, Louis Untermeyer and Paul Rosenfeld from 1916-17, until he was blacklisted due to his opposition to US entry into World War I. Oppenheim died in New York City on August 4, 1932.
James Oppenheim Poems
Bread And Roses
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day, A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Where Love Once Was
Where love once was, let there be no hate: Though they that went as one by night and day Go now alone, Where love once was, let there be no hate.
They set the slave free, striking off his chains… Then he was as much of a slave as ever. He was still chained to servility,
The New God
Ye morning-glories, ring in the gale your bells, And with dew water the walk's dust for the burden-bearing ants: Ye swinging spears of the larkspur, open your wells of gold And pay your honey-tax to the hummingbird . . .
Tasting The Earth
In a dark hour, tasting the Earth. As I lay on my couch in the muffled night, and the rain lashed my window,
I keep walking around myself, mouth open with amazement: For by all the ethical rules of life, I ought to be solemn and sad,
Clearing in the forest, In the wild Kentucky forest, And the stars, wintry stars strewn above! O Night that is the starriest
The Runner In The Skies
Who is the runner in the skies, With her blowing scarf of stars, And our Earth and sun hovering like bees about her blossoming heart? Her feet are on the winds, where space is deep,
I keep walking around myself, mouth open with amazement:
For by all the ethical rules of life, I ought to be solemn and sad,
But, look you, I am bursting with joy.
I scold myself:
I say: Boy, your work has gone to pot:
You have scarcely enough money to last out the week:
And think of your responsibilities!
Whereupon, my heart bubbles over,