By looking closely at Marianne Moore’s revisions of her early poem “Half Deity,” this essay shows Moore’s journey to the lyric speech that was the hallmark of both her later poetry and the poetry readings for which she became famous as an older poet. In contrast to recent readings of draft and manuscript materials by Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop, the essay argues that Moore’s continual revisions render her less an experimental poet than a teleological one, whose commitment was ultimately both to the “finish” of the lyric poem and to the lyric as a modality of communication rather than a monologue or artifact.

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