"But the living poets express a feeling that is actually being made and torn out of us at the moment"
Ezra Pound (1913)
Public DomainEzra Pound (1913) - Credit: Alvin Langdon Coburn
W.H.Auden (1939)
Public DomainW.H.Auden (1939) - Credit: Carl Van Vechten
Marianne Moore (1935)
Public DomainMarianne Moore (1935) - Credit: George Platt Lynes
Here Virginia Woolf's narrator is comparing post-First World War poetry with pre-war poetry. She implies that post-war poetry presents more of a challenge to the reader than the familiar patterns of pre-war poetry.

In 1928* when A Room of one's own was published, significant living  poets writing in English included W.B. Yeats (1865-1939); D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930); Ezra Pound (1885-1972); Marianne Moore (1887-1972); T.S.Eliot (1888-1965); and W.H. Auden (1907-1973). Of the poets listed, it is probably those who wrote in what would now be described as an innovative modernist style (Eliot; Pound; Moore; and Auden) who would best fit the narrator's description of the 'living poets' who express feelings that 'are being made and torn out of us at the moment'.

T.S. Eliot (1923)
Public DomainT.S. Eliot (1923) - Credit: original uploader: SlimVirgin@en.wikipedia

T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land (1922), in particular, was perceived as breaking new ground stylistically and thematically, and as a potent symbol of  post-war disillusionment.

'Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many.

I had not thought death had undone so many.'

Full text 


*The edition on which the bookmarks are based refers to 'A Room of One's Own' as having been 'first published 1928'. Other sources refer to its first publication in 1929.