Ridge, Lola (1873–1941) By Svoboda, Terese
A proletarian modernist, the poet Lola Ridge is best known for her work published between 1918 and 1922, which coincided with her editorship of Broom and Others. She is also known for her salon in New York that hosted most of the leading poets of the time, including Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and Hart Crane. Four years before Eliot's bleak and anti-Semitic ‘The Waste Land’, her equally long poem ‘The Ghetto’ celebrated the ‘otherness’ of the Jewish Lower East Side, chronicling an era and prophesying the multi-ethnic world of the twenty-first century. She was one of the first to delineate the life of the poor in Manhattan and, in particular, women’s lives in New York City. The title poem of her second book, Sun-up and Other Poems is a striking modernist depiction of child's interior life. Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry, and William Rose Benet, founder of Saturday Review of Literature, called Ridge a genius. Her poem ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ greatly influenced Hart Crane, and her late work shared Crane's concerns with archaic language and mysticism. Her 1919 speech, ‘Woman and the Creative Will’, anticipated Virginia Woolf's A Room of Her Own by 10 years.