Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Jonathan Barron

Advisor Department



When I first began this project, I had hopes of discovering that long forgotten poet, Madison Cawein, was one of America’s early Modernist writers. However, as time progressed and as I became intimate with Cawein’s work I realized that he was, in fact, not a Modernist. Rather, Cawein’s writing reveals interesting insight on how poets steeped in traditional form were affected by the shift to the Modernist ways thinking and writing. Although, as this project will later reveal, Cawein was much opposed to the free verse style of Modernist writing his concerns about the ever changing modern world closely relate to his contemporary Modernist writers.

Given the lack of scholarship about Madison Cawein, for this project I chose to compile a short critical edition on the poet. Cawein was a prolific writer, publishing 36 volumes of poetry. The three poems which I have chosen are “The Wasteland,” “The Old Remain” and “Coward.” These poems were published in Minions of the Moon, Cawein’s collection of poems for children, which was published in 1913 and was the last book published before his death. The edition that follows contains biographical insights, indentifies Cawein’s writing style, and provides introductions and annotations for three of his poems. The poems that I have chosen represent the latter period of Cawein’s writing career.