For My Contemporaries

By J.V. Cunningham

J.V. Cunningham


Cunningham struggled a great amount during his adolescence. His father died which led to him not being able to afford a proper education, and he struggled to find a job during the Great Depression. He later was invited to study at Stanford University, where he completed both bachelors and graduate courses. He then taught at multiple universities such as the University of Chicago, Harvard, and Stanford.


This poem can be looked at and can be connected to Cunningham's struggles during his adolescence, which would have led to him needing to grow up faster than most, and possibly distancing himself from his peers in the process.

How time reverses

The proud in heart!

I now make verses

Who aimed at art.


But I sleep well.

Ambitious boys

Whose big lines swell

With spiritual noise,

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For My Contemporaries (Continued)

Despise me not!

And be not queasy

To praise somewhat:

Verse is not easy.


But rage who will.

Time that procured me

Good sense and skill

Of madness cured me.

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