Harold Monro


Harold Monro (1879–1932): poet, editor, publisher and bookseller. In 1913 he founded the Poetry Bookshop at 35 Devonshire Street, London, where poets would meet and give readings and lectures. In 1912 he briefly edited The Poetry Review for the Poetry Society; then his own periodicals, Poetry and Drama, 1913–15, and The Chapbook (originally The Monthly Chapbook), 1919–25. From the Poetry Bookshop, Monro would put out a remarkable mix of publications including the five volumes of Georgian Poetry, ed. by Edward Marsh (1872–1953), between 1912 and 1922 (popular anthologies which sold in the region of 15,000 copies), the English edition of Des Imagistes, and the first volumes by writers including Richard Aldington, F. S. Flint and Robert Graves, along with some of his own collections including Children of Love (1915) and Strange Meetings (1917). TSE was to accept The Winter Solstice for publication by Faber & Gwyer as no. 13 of the Ariel Poems.

Though a homosexual, Monro was to marry the sister of a friend, 1903–16; and in 1920 he wed Alida Klemantaski (daughter of a Polish–Jewish trader), with whom he never cohabited but who was ever loving and supportive to him: both of them endeared themselves to Eliot, who would occasionally use the premises of the Poetry Bookshop for meetings of contributors to the Criterion. After Monro’s death, TSE wrote a critical note for The Collected Poems of Harold Monro, ed. Alida Monro (1933), xiii–xvi. See further Joy Grant, Harold Monro and the Poetry Bookshop (1967); and Dominic Hibberd, Harold Monro: Poet of the New Age (2001).