“Here upon earth there is life, and then death,
Dawn, and later nightfall,
Fire, and the quenching of embers:
But why should I not remember that my night is dawn in another part of the world,
If the idea fits my fancy?”
John Gould Fletcher
John Gould Fletcher, Arkansas Writer and Poet
John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950) was a US writer about art and a published poet. He was the first Southern poet to win a Pulitzer Prize, according to poets.org. At one point, he moved to England, where he was acquainted with writer Ezra Pound and later returned to Arkansas where he lived with his wife, children’s book author Charlie May Simon. Information about the marriage of this literary pair can be found here: https://ualrexhibits.org/characters.
(Read about Ezra Pound’s literary landmark in Idaho here: https://authoradventures.org/trails/by-state/idaho/pound-ezra.)
John Gould Fletcher Library in Little Rock
The Johnswood home of John Gould Fletcher and Charlie May Simon was under consideration for historical landmark status, but it does not appear to be open to the public. It was made available for private ownership as recently as 2022. However, a public library in central Arkansas was named for John Gould Fletcher. It is at 823 North Buchanan Street in Little Rock.
The John Gould Fletcher branch is part of the Central Arkansas Public Library System, which has more than a dozen locations, another of which is named for former First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton. Most of the branches of this library system are in Little Rock.
The Poetry of John Gould Fletcher
To read poetry by Fletcher and other poets of his day, such as the better known D.H. Lawrence, go to gutenberg.org and select the Some Imagist Poets e-book. Then see page 39 to read a poem that he wrote about London.
The Writer’s Books About Art
John Gould Fletcher’s books about art include Irradiations, Sand and Spray; Japanese Prints; and Paul Gaugin, His Life and Art.
“Every artist carries upon his shoulders a profound moral responsibility. This responsibility is not, as supposed, the duty of teaching us to conform to the modern official distortion of Christian ethics, by which we are ruled. It is not the duty of upholding a system of negations, of prohibitions, of compromises, striking at the very roots of life. It is a far nobler, far more difficult task. The duty of the artist is to affirm the dignity of life, the value of humanity, despite the morbid prejudices of Puritanism, the timid conventionality of the mob, despite even his own knowledge of the insoluble riddle of suffering, decay and death.” — John Gould Flether, Paul Gaugin, His Life and Art
The John Gould Fletcher Library is the third stop on our Arkansas Author Adventures Trail.