Helen Hoyt

Helen Hoyt’s Life

Helen Hoyt is a well-known American romantic lyric poet, who was born on 22 January 1887 in Norwalk, Connecticut. She is also known as Helen Hoyt Lyman and Mrs. W.W. Lyman as she got married to William Whittingham Lyman Jr. Her father Henry M. Hoyt was the governor of Pennsylvania from 1879 to 1893. She died on 2 August 1972.

She got her education at Barnard College and served for “Poetry” magazine as an associate editor. She was living in Chicago when her first and most popular poemEllis Park” was published.

In 1916, she edited the issue of “Others: A Magazine of the New Verse”. In the said issue, Hoyt communicated her deep interest in poetry as a tool for women to express their voices: “At present most of what we know, or think we know, of women has been found out by men. We have yet to hear what woman will tell of herself, and where can she tell more intimately than in poetry?

Helen Hoyt’s Works

Aside from her own publications and collections, many prominent anthologies also included her work during her times. Such anthologies include “The New Poetry: An Anthology”, “The Second Book of Modern Verse”, “Silver Pennies: Modern Poems for Boys and Girls” and “The Best Poems of 1931 and May Days”. “The Masses” and “The Egoist” are two magazines that published her work. Many consider The Egoist as “England’s most important Modernist periodical.”

Helen Hoyt’s Style and Popular Poems

Hoyt explored nature, love, mystery, beauty, the body and gender in her poetry. Her style of writing was lyric. She conjures up clear visual and auditory images with very few words.
Her direct musical style, effective use of figurative language, and inspiration from nature can be seen in her poems, such as in Ellis Park:

“Little park that I pass through,
I carry off a piece of you….I take your trees,
And your breeze,
Your greenness,
Your cleanness…
Your fountains take and sweet bird calls
to sing me from my office walls.”

In addition, many of her poems are about women and descriptions of the human body such as in A Woman and Mountains:

I am rounded, billowed out, hunched like you;
I am big like you, ugly and beautiful;
Eternal like you.

Several critics have shed very good light on Helen Hoyt’s writing style. For instance, Harriet Monroe described the style and verse of Helen: “ … have exercised to the full a woman’s privilege of independent choice…escaping into prose now and then but achieving poetry of singular precision in her happier moments”. ”.

Simplicity and absolute sincerity of language characterize every statement of Helen’s unique style. Each poem seems to be a love song that is true and spontaneous, written with regular rhyme scheme and rhythm. She also expresses quick reaction to the exciting and emotional urges, trying to achieve often a lyrical beauty. She is very capable in articulating her speculations and personal imaginings with appropriate and effective words.

Her creative verses include “Poems of Life and Death”, “The Harp” and “City Pastorals”. Besides these, her popular collections include “Apples Here in My Basket”, “Poems of Amis” and “Leaves of Wild Grape”.

Helen Hoyt’s Poems Published in Poetry Magazine

“Poems of Life and Death” Published in August 1915:

  • Annunciation
  • The New-Born
  • Rain at Night
  • Since I Have Felt the Sense of Death
  • Action Poem

”City Pastorals” Published in March 1917

  • Poem to Be Danced
  • Under the Tree
  • The Dancer
  • To a Vine the Workmen Cut Down
  • Arches
  • Continuance
  • Sky-Humor
  • The Letter
  • Kin
  • Hey Nonino
  • Men-Folks

”The Harp” Published in December 1918:

  • I Have Found My Beloved
  • Stature
  • Name
  • Difference
  • Unity
  • Happiness Betrays Me
  • Triumph
  • Interlude
  • At the Museum
  • Memory
  • Oh We Shall Meet
  • Ascension
  • The Root

”In a Certain City” Published in March 1920:

  • Chicago
  • Encounter
  • Automobiles on Sunday
  • By the Lake
  • Night
  • The Stone-Age Sea
  • When We Are Asleep
  • Creator
  • Headstone
  • There Was a Time

”New Love Poems” Published in October 1923:

  • October Letter
  • Your Words
  • Chant of Rejoicing
  • Day’s End
  • The Stone
  • The Bride and the Matron
  • Flower and Flame
  • Gravid
  • Recompense

”Poems for Amis” Published in August 1928:

  • Crescent Moon
  • A Woman and Mountains
  • At Daybreak
  • Are You a Freesia?
  • Game
  • In the White Crib
  • First Walking
  • Portrait at Five
  • Dahlias

More About Helen Hoyt

In 1932, Hoyt wrote the preface to “California Poets: An Anthology of 244 Contemporaries”. She was a contemporary poetess of Mina Loy and Marianne Moore. Her niece, Elinor Morton Hoyt, is also a famous poetess. Elinor is not only popular for her poetic skills but also her beauty.