Margaret Haley Carpenter: On "I Shall Not Care"

It was also at this meeting [of the Poetry Society of America in February 1912] that Sara’s poem, “I Shall Not Care,” which appeared in The Lyric Year, was read in public for the first time, anonymously, according to the Society’s rule for poems submitted by members for discussion. This poem was so well liked that it was read twice and then commented upon at length. Mr. [Arthur] Guiterman referred to it as charming. At this, Joyce Kilmer rose to say that he considered it a pity to call such a tragic and great poem charming. Mr. Guiterman defended himself by saying: “The poem has a humorous effect upon me, because the writer is evidently playing with serious emotions. He’s trying to be tragic, and he knows he’s trying to be tragic.”

Miss [Jessie] Rittenhouse commented: “I think the poem is tragedy in a small compass, like the poems of Christina Rossetti.”

Mr. Guiterman once more defended his remarks by saying: “I think the charm of this poem is enhanced by the fact that the writer does not take himself too seriously.”

And to this, Edwin Markham diplomatically replied: “Every man’s opinions are governed by his craft; and we all know that Mr. Guiterman is a humorist, so it is natural that he should find humor in everything.”


Sara Teasdale: A Biography. New York: Schulte Publishing Co., 1960. 158-59.


Title Margaret Haley Carpenter: On "I Shall Not Care" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Margaret Haley Carpenter Criticism Target Sara Teasdale
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 28 Jul 2014
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
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