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A Book of Verses by Robert Loveman
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's review
Feb 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: topfavorites, poetry-shortstory, written-by-family-or-about-them, star-five, ranking-2012-reads-processing, alabama, favorite-author, lit-southern, re-reading, read-years-ago, ebook-google, loss, love, new-york, philosophy, humorous, have-reviewed
Recommended to Wordsmith by: Family
Recommended for: Poetry Lovers
Read 3 times. Last read January 27, 2012.

Robert Loveman As A Young Man

Song by Robert Loveman

The Dawn is a wild, fair woman,
With sunrise in her hair;
Look where she stands, with pleading hands,
To lure me there.

The Dusk is dark and glorious,
A star upon her brow;
With sunset blushes in her cheeks,
She beckons now.

I, ever fickle, stand between,
Upon my lips a rune,
And in my summer-singing soul---
The hoiden happy Noon.

Robert Loveman was a poet in the early 1900's. One of his best known poems, "Rain Song" was immortalized in song by the great Al Jolson and later Mel Torme. Georgia used Loveman's poem "Georgia" as their state song, until 1979 when it was changed to "Georgia On My Mind."

Robert Loveman was a son of the South although he was born in Cleveland, Ohio amongst a large family clan including Lovemans, Friedmans, Blacks, Schwartzes, Liebmans, Goodfriends, Guttefruends, Sobels, and so on. Three or four brothers and a few cousins were not long off the boat from Hungary and they went off in three directions initially—Ohio, Tennessee, and Alabama. Robert's family moved before he cut his first tooth, landing him in the small town of Dalton, Georgia. As he got older he began spending more of his time in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama where many of his relatives had taken up residence. Not only was Tuscaloosa home to The University of Alabama with their exciting football team, his Friedman relatives had homes where beauty was of great import, not only in the living quarters but outside in the cultivated gardens as well, where the budding poet could meander undisturbed along the winding garden paths.

Many people are unaware of this but Robert Loveman penned one of the early fight songs for The Crimson Tide. It wasn't until the mid to late twenties when Ethelred Lundy (Epp) Sykes wrote the iconic "Yay Alabama...Remember The Rose Bowl" which as any football fan can tell you, the rest is history.

It was in Tuscaloosa during an extended visit with his cousins at what is now known as The Battle-Friedman Home, after walking in the gardens one morning following a brief shower, he penned "Rain Song," which was to become his most beloved poem.

Rain Song by Robert Loveman

It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see
Wildflowers on the hills;

The clouds of gray engulf the day
And overwhelm the town;
It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining roses down.

It isn't raining rain to me,
But fields of clover bloom;
Where every buccaneering bee
May find a bed and room;

A health unto the happy!
A fig for him who frets!---
It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining violets.

He was also part of the New York literary scene, hobnobbing with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and becoming friends with H. L. Mencken and the like, corresponding with him years after leaving New York. He not only wrote poetry but contributed to the leading Magazines and Anthologies of the day and wrote many a Book Review. My aunt, who was Poet Laureate for Alabama in the late 1990's wrote her Masters Thesis on Robert, calling it, "Robert Loveman: Belated Romanticist."

The Fitzgerald's

(I'm trying to source this image, as it sure looks like Alabama to me. Note also the obvious youth of the beautiful couple)

Another cousin, Amy Loveman, along with Henry S. Canby was Co-Editor of Saturday Review of Literature no mean feat for a woman in the post-WWI era. Between the two of them, along with a few others, they are known as "The Literary Lovemans." She was a force in the literary world during her rule. After graduating from Barnard College, her first literary work was assisting her Uncle Victor who was working on a revision of The New International Encyclopedia. From there, she moved on to the New York Evening Post, where she became a book reviewer and then associate editor of the newspaper's literary review. Later, she, Canby and Rosen left to form The Saturday Review of Literature whose first issue appeared on August 2, 1924. Loveman was listed as an associate editor. She remained at the Saturday Review for three decades, becoming the magazine's poetry editor in 1950. In the first two decades alone, she wrote close to 800 items for the Review.

The first edition of the Saturday Review was published in 1924. Among the founders of Saturday Review was Amy Loveman, who “shaped the literary choices of generations of readers,” notes the Jewish Women’s Archive, through her work as associate editor, poetry editor, and frequent writer, and through the Book-of-the-Month Club, where Loveman became head of the editorial department. Loveman (1881-1955) came from a long line of Jewish writers and scholars. Her mother wrote unsigned political columns for weekly magazines, her maternal grandfather was an abolitionist who contributed regularly to the Nation, and her father, a cotton broker, was a linguist fluent in six languages.
Amy Loveman

Robert Loveman was a romantic poet but if one takes the time to peruse his many volumes of published works only then can his amazing versatility be seen for what it is. From his charming, upbeat, children's frolics to his sonnets serenading love, truth and beauty to his WWI inspired homages to America along with her returning veterans to his cries for O' Israel, it's no wonder Mencken said he was the only worthwhile poet to have come out of the Southern States in as many decades as he was living. I was delighted to find on Google Books his artistry with words lives on for the next generation to read and be inspired by as this generation of family finds it next to impossible to acquire "the real thing."

H. L. Mencken

"Almost 80 years ago, Annie Laurie Friedman and her husband Sam built an institution in the Tuscaloosa area.  The Dogwood Lodge on Bee Branch Road, a hangout to the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tallulah Bankhead, Hudson Strode and Johnny Mack Brown, has been a monument to the area that has stood the test of time, at least for the most part...Helen Blackshear, Lynn’s mother, former poet laureate of Alabama, said, “Dogwood Lodge became an ideal place for the informal entertaining Mother had always wanted.”...In the late 1970s, actor Alan Alda even wanted to produce a film using the Dogwood Lodge.  Not to mention, the lodge is probably one of the finest examples of a log cabin in the country, Blackshear said in her book Mother was a Rebel*...Over the years, the Dogwood Lodge saw its share of parties complete with bathtub booze and Dutch oven spaghetti, living an illustrious life even to this day.  Lynn Stevenson is the granddaughter of Friedman and the current owner of the lodge.  “She [her grandmother] used to make everyone bring their own liquor because the times were so tough,” Stevenson said....Today, Lynn and her husband Tommy Stevenson, associate editor for The Tuscaloosa News, live in the small cabin next door to the lodge....Originally, Friedman wanted to name her home “Toehold” because she said it would have a toehold because she wanted her cabin there, but she agreed with her family and named it the Dogwood Lodge..."—Tommy Stevenson

Hudson Strode

From Hoole@UA.COM
While living in Tuscaloosa, he resided with the Friedman family in their beautiful home on Greensboro Avenue, now known as the historic Battle-Friedman House. Bernard Friedman, one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Tuscaloosa, was in business with the Loveman family of New York and Dalton, Georgia.

Battle-Friedman home (Then known as the Alfred Battle House, built 1835) 
(silver gelatin print by Sydnia Keene-Smith, ca. 1929) and accessible at http://www.lib.ua.edu/digital 

It was during his years at The University of Alabama he wrote his famous "Rain Song" poem, inspired by the gardens surrounding the house. That poem later served as the inspiration for the famed Al Jolson song "April Showers." Mel Torme also recorded his own version the poem.

Loveman's song "Georgia", with music by Lollie Belle Wylie, was the official state song of Georgia before 1979 (when it was replaced by "Georgia on My Mind"). A biographical study by our namesake, William Stanley Hoole, It's Raining Violets: The Life and Poetry of Robert Loveman, was published in 1981. The image of the sheet music above is from the Wade Hall Sheet Music Collections. 

Nothing by Robert Loveman

One by one, the gods we know.

Weary of our trust,

One by one the prophets go

Dreaming to the dust.

All the cobweb creeds of men

Vanish into air,

Leaving nothing, save a "When?"

Nothing, save a "Where?"

A Book of Verses

Mother Was a Rebel: In Praise of Gentle People
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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Arah-Lynda (new)

Arah-Lynda Very intersting and rewarding review. Love the poetry!

Wordsmith Wordsmith Bliss Thank you Arah-Lynda. This has been on my 'to do' list for quite sometime. I was actually waiting on the pictures, well, the ability to insert them. I fear I will be an image-happy reviewer for the foreseeable future. I just learned how! I've gone Techni-Color!

message 3: by Arah-Lynda (new)

Arah-Lynda Wordsmith wrote: "Wordsmith Bliss Thank you Arah-Lynda. This has been on my 'to do' list for quite sometime. I was actually waiting on the pictures, well, the ability to insert them. I fear I will be an image-happy ..."

Woot....good for you! There is much I would still like to learn how to do here on goodreads, like link someone elses review to my own for starters. I did find your review pictures quite complimentary to the review, so congrats.

Wordsmith Thanks. I'll admit I'm pretty happy about it, as it's something I've been trying to figure out forever. I use an I-Pad so there is no left/right click to grab the image URL. Thank the stars for Kris R. who guided me through the correct process.

Now I'm real happy because Alabama finally scored a touchdown, right before the half!

message 5: by Kris (new)

Kris Well done! Great review and beautiful images. :)

Wordsmith Thanks Kris, and again, Thanks Kris, for your help.

I do see some tinkering in my future regarding the centering of certain images but at least until then it is a little bit visual.

Or a tad more than that : )

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Beautiful and well done, Worsdmith. You are an imagesmith as well.

Wordsmith Steve wrote: "Beautiful and well done, Worsdmith. You are an imagesmith as well."

You're very kind Steve. I know I'm a naught but a virgin image inserter, and have much to learn about image url's and will need even more time, to become an expert on the finer points of image manipulation within GR's rather extreme quidelines. After countless misfires I did finally figure out the "top-secret" confidential, nesting strokes to center two small pics from two large ones. It only took a day! Mensa has been calling ever since! Ha!

With the recent bumps, slips and four steps back regarding my writing that is a constant torment which flares with every word, every phrase, not caught, held-fast and typed*, I refuse to admit defeat on this graphics thing. Either it only gets better and better or I shut this thing down forever.

*thoughts are fleeting, they flit away, woe lamented epiphany. Magically appearing effortless, a song inside your head—dream words—written dreamily. Never will it form again, no words retrieved compare. Alas, that piece of wonder fully realized in your head? It's flying—merging—joined with that sea of fleeting thoughts— floating in their lost perfection—forever—so sad, for never said.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Wordsmith wrote: "Steve wrote: "Beautiful and well done, Worsdmith. You are an imagesmith as well."

You're very kind Steve. I know I'm a naught but a virgin image inserter, and have much to learn about image url's ..."

You write like Wordsworth, Wordsmith. It seems as if you think with a fire-storm of ideas/metaphors.

Wordsmith Methinks your kindness is overwhelming your rationality. Responding to you realistically, as someone has to!


If I were a Wordsworth, I'd think my life a dream,
God sending me back down here to this earth,
Do all poets cry?
Sunbeams all aglow, in flows divine rhyme-scheme,
sublime poetical re-birth.
Do poets ever die?
His blessed grace sending me a cool stream,
barely taken in, this rush of sweetly reeling vertigo.
All this if I could be like the Wordsworth.
Do all poems fly? Beyond our earthbound sky?
I would know this if I were that Wordsworth.

"To be read (kinda-sorta—imagination required!) to the tune "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler On The Roof"

message 11: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca like :D

Wordsmith : ) ha! I was thinking Steve's comment, kind beyond all reasonable belief, demanded at the very least, an attempt at some kind of an extreme reply. ; )

message 13: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope What a lovely review, Wordsmith. I think I should print it because there is so much thought and information that I will have to ponder over it.

Wordsmith Thank you Kalliope. I'll talk to you later. I'm conking out...mind and body in accord for once. ; )

message 15: by CandyceDeal (new)

CandyceDeal Hi Wordsmith! I read with interest your review of Robert Loveman's poetry. I'm completing a bio narrative of the poet from my hometown of Dalton, Georgia for a writing class. I've read Hoole's biography about Loveman but am hard-pressed to find anything else. I wondered if a visit to view the Loveman papers at the U of Ala would be worthwhile. Any suggestions?

Wordsmith What a coincidence. I haven't been online in months, haven't even checked my e-mails but 2 or 3 times, only 7,000+ of THOSE to go through, sigh... Got sick, got worse, then better, rebounded, ugh. I hope that's all behind me now. As to your question, I would have to check, but it's my understanding the majority of his papers are in Dalton, or somewhere in Georgia. That's not to say the University of Alabama doesn't have their fair share. Quite a bit of it is online and I don't know how much digging you have done. Of course I have many stories handed down through family members and those, sadly, aren't written up. If you have any questions just let me know.

message 17: by CandyceDeal (new)

CandyceDeal Thank you. I will!

message 18: by CandyceDeal (new)

CandyceDeal Gmail.com that should say!

Wordsmith Okay, sounds good to me.

Wordsmith Candy, Oops! Sorry, I'm slowww on the synapse response receptors I suppose. Then boom, at 5:30 am it hits me! It would make sense for you to have mine too huh? I'm thinking that would be a yes? : ) tideflake@gmail.com I'll be happy to help with what I can.

message 21: by Jo (new)

Jo Goren Robert Loveman was a cousin of mine. My father showed me his poetry when I was too young to appreciate the Artistic side of the Loveman family .

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