March 1, 1949
“Perfectly charming without seeming modest or self-absorbed,” English poet, critic and eccentric Edith Sitwell, in turban and jewels, met with students and lectured on "Modern English Poetry.” A student in Professor Barbara Swain's English 341 class in contemporary poetry, Katharine "Tinka" Cosgriff '50 was among the students invited to "sip sherry with Miss Sitwell and some of the faculty" at Alumnae House before Miss Sitwell's lecture. Describing the experience in The Miscellany News, Cosgriff reported, "among the students there was considerable panic as to just what one should say to Miss Sitwell...and some of the faculty looked as if they were wondering the same thing." Asked by a student "if she considered herself 'baroque,' Miss Sitwell replied 'Heaven forbid! If anything I am Greek.'"
In her lecture in the Students' Building, Cosgriff wrote, Sitwell "traced trends, but always with a personal interpretation, praising Yeats while taking a dim viw of Housman. Most outstanding was Miss Sitwell's characterization of a period in a few words. 'The Victorian age,' she said, 'was that time when strong men cried upon seeing a few ducks on a pond....' She discussed the misconception of free verse as an easy way out for amateurs and called real free verse 'melody stripped of its pitch.'"