Charles Follen Adams, (born April 21, 1842, Dorchester, Mass., U.S.--died March 8, 1918, Roxbury, Mass.), U.S. regional humorous poet, best known for his Pennsylvania German dialect poems.During the American Civil War he was wounded and taken prisoner. In 1872 he began writing humorous verses for periodicals and newspapers in a Pennsylvania German dialect. Collections of his verse are Leedle Yawcob Strauss, and Other Poems (1877) and Dialect Ballads (1888). His complete poetical writings, Yawcob Strauss, and Other Poems, with illustrations by "Boz," were published in 1910...
Edgar A. Guest, (born Aug. 20, 1881, Birmingham, Warwickshire, Eng.--died Aug. 5, 1959, Detroit), British-born U.S. writer whose sentimental verses were widely read.Guest's family moved to the United States in 1891. Four years later he went to work for the Detroit Free Press as a police reporter and then as a writer of daily rhymes, which became so popular that they were eventually syndicated to newspapers throughout the country and made his name a household word. His first book, A Heap o' Livin' (1916), named for his famous lines "It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home," became a best-seller..
Fitz-Greene Halleck, (born July 8, 1790, Guilford, Conn., U.S.--died Nov. 19, 1867, Guilford), American poet, a leading member of the Knickerbocker group, known for both his satirical and romantic verse.An employee in various New York City banks, including that of John Jacob Astor, Halleck wrote only as an avocation. In collaboration with Joseph Rodman Drake he contributed the satirical "Croaker Papers" to the New York Evening Post in 1819, and on the death of Drake he wrote the moving tribute beginning "Green be the turf above thee." Other popular favourites were the feudal romance "Alnwick..
Paul Hamilton Hayne, (born Jan. 1, 1830, Charleston, S.C., U.S.--died July 6, 1886, Grovetown, Ga.), American poet and literary leader, one of the best-known poets of the Confederate cause.After growing up in the home of his uncle, Robert Young Hayne, and practicing law for a short time, Hayne wrote for the Charleston Evening News and the Richmond Southern Literary Messenger and was associate editor of the weekly Southern Literary Gazette. His first collected poems were published at his own expense in 1855. He was coeditor of the influential Russell's Magazine, launched under the leadership..
Joseph Rodman Drake, (born Aug. 7, 1795, New York City--died Sept. 21, 1820, New York City), Romantic poet who contributed to the beginnings of a U.S. national literature by a few memorable lyrics before his early death.Drake's father died while the boy was young, and his mother remarried and went to live in New Orleans, leaving her son with relatives in New York. He graduated from medical school there in 1816. While a student, he became friends with another poet, Fitz-Greene Halleck, with whom he began collaborating, in 1819, on topical satirical verses, the "Croaker Papers," published under..
Carolyn Forche, in full Carolyn Louise Forche, nee Sidlosky, (born April 28, 1950, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.), American poet whose concern for human rights is reflected in her writing, especially in the collection The Country Between Us (1981), which examines events she witnessed in El Salvador.Forche was educated at Michigan State (B.A., 1972) and Bowling Green State (M.F.A., 1975) universities. Thereafter she taught at a number of colleges and universities. Her first collection of poetry, Gathering the Tribes (1976), evokes her childhood, her Slovak ancestry, and reflections on sexuality,..
Maxwell Bodenheim, original name Maxwell Bodenheimer, (born May 26, 1893, Hermanville, Mississippi, U.S.--died February 6, 1954, New York, New York), poet who contributed to the development of the Modernist movement in American poetry but is best remembered for his long career as a personality in literary bohemia.Largely self-educated, Bodenheim appeared in Chicago around 1913, during the period of the Chicago Renaissance. He wrote plays with Ben Hecht and helped him edit the short-lived Chicago Literary Times (1923-24). Later they fell out, conducting a much-publicized feud and featuring..
Denise Levertov, (born October 24, 1923, Ilford, Essex [now in Greater London], England--died December 20, 1997, Seattle, Washington, U.S.), English-born American poet, essayist, and political activist who wrote deceptively matter-of-fact verse on both personal and political themes.Levertov's father was an immigrant Russian Jew who converted to Christianity, married a Welsh woman, and became an Anglican clergyman. Educated entirely at home, Levertov became a civilian nurse during World War II, serving in London throughout the bombings. Her first volume of verse, The Double Image..
Kay Ryan, (born September 27, 1945, San Jose, California, U.S.), American poet laureate (2008-10) who wrote punchy, wry verses about commonplace things with consummate craft, humour, and intelligence.Ryan grew up in a succession of small towns in California's Central Valley, where her father worked at a variety of jobs (including oil well driller, chromium miner, and Christmas tree salesman), and her mother was a part-time elementary-school teacher. Ryan enrolled at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California, but soon transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles,..
E.E. Cummings, in full Edward Estlin Cummings, (born October 14, 1894, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.--died September 3, 1962, North Conway, New Hampshire), American poet and painter who first attracted attention, in an age of literary experimentation, for his unconventional punctuation and phrasing. Cummings's name is often styled "e.e. cummings" in the mistaken belief that the poet legally changed his name to lowercase letters only. Cummings used capital letters only irregularly in his verse and did not object when publishers began lowercasing his name, but he himself capitalized..
Ina Donna Coolbrith, original name Josephine Donna Smith, (born March 10, 1841, Nauvoo, Ill., U.S.--died Feb. 29, 1928, Berkeley, Calif.), popular American poet of moderate talent who nonetheless became a major figure in literary and cultural circles of 19th- and early 20th-century San Francisco.Coolbrith, a niece of Joseph Smith (the founder of Mormonism), was born in the first major Mormon settlement. Shortly thereafter her widowed mother took the family to live in St. Louis, Missouri. About 1851 the family traveled by wagon train to California, and young Josephine, on the saddle of famed..
Phillis Wheatley, (born c. 1753, present-day Senegal?, West Africa--died December 5, 1784, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.), the first black woman poet of note in the United States.The young girl who was to become Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped and taken to Boston on a slave ship in 1761 and purchased by a tailor, John Wheatley, as a personal servant for his wife, Susanna. She was treated kindly in the Wheatley household, almost as a third child. The Wheatleys soon recognized her talents and gave her privileges unusual for a slave, allowing her to learn to read and write. In less than two years, under..
W.S. Merwin, in full William Stanley Merwin, (born September 30, 1927, New York, New York, U.S.--died March 15, 2019, Haiku, Hawaii), American poet and translator known for the spare style of his poetry, in which he expressed his concerns about the alienation of humans from their environment.After graduating from Princeton University (B.A., 1947), Merwin worked as a tutor in Europe and as a freelance translator. He was playwright in residence at the Poet's Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1956 to 1957 and poetry editor of The Nation (1962).Critical acclaim for Merwin began with his..
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (born February 27, 1807, Portland, Massachusetts [now in Maine], U.S.--died March 24, 1882, Cambridge, Massachusetts), the most popular American poet in the 19th century, known for such works as The Song of Hiawatha (1855) and "Paul Revere's Ride" (1863).Early lifeLongfellow attended private schools and the Portland Academy. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825. At college he was attracted especially to Sir Walter Scott's romances and Washington Irving's Sketch Book, and his verses appeared in national magazines. He was so fluent in translating that..
Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, nee Sarah Morgan Bryan, (born August 11, 1836, Fayette county, Kentucky, U.S.--died December 22, 1919, Caldwell, New Jersey), American poet whose particular blend of convention and innovation won her praise and censure during her lifetime and whose writing was rediscovered by scholars beginning in the 1980s.Life and worksSarah Morgan Bryan was born to a slave-holding family in 1836 and lived a somewhat itinerant childhood after the death of her mother. Though little is known about her literary preferences as a child, she went on to study the Romantics at the Henry..
Yvor Winters, (born Oct. 17, 1900, Chicago, Ill., U.S.--died Jan. 25, 1968, Palo Alto, Calif.), American poet, critic, and teacher who held that literature should be evaluated for its moral and intellectual content as well as on aesthetic grounds.Educated at the University of Chicago, University of Colorado (Boulder), and Stanford University (California), Winters taught at the University of Idaho (Pocatello) and at Stanford (1927-66). His attacks on such contemporary literary idols as T.S. Eliot and Henry James aroused much controversy. His collected poems appeared in 1952 (rev. ed.,..
Edgar Bowers, American poet (born March 2, 1924, Rome, Ga.--died Feb. 4, 2000, San Francisco, Calif.), was a masterful poet who addressed in formalist verse such universal themes as beauty and faith. After serving in the U.S. Army's Counter Intelligence Corps during World War II, he earned a Ph.D. in English at Stanford University, where he studied under the critic and poet Yvor Winters. Bowers's early work, including The Form of Loss (1956), his first book of poetry, was strongly influenced by Winters, who stressed adherence to traditional poetic forms and the use of rhyme. From 1958 to 1991..
Lizette Woodworth Reese, (born Jan. 9, 1856, Baltimore county, Md., U.S.--died Dec. 17, 1935, Baltimore, Md.), American poet whose work draws on the images of her rural childhood.After growing up on the outskirts of Baltimore, Reese began teaching at the parish school of St. John's Episcopal Church in Waverly, Maryland, in 1873; she continued teaching English in Baltimore public schools until her retirement in 1921.Reese's lyric talent was strikingly evident in her first book, A Branch of May (1887); it was followed by A Handful of Lavendar (1891). Her fresh images, condensed form, and sincerity..
Barbara Guest, (Barbara Ann Pinson), American poet (born Sept. 6, 1920, Wilmington, N.C.--died Feb. 15, 2006, Berkeley, Calif.), was a member of a group of writers that became known as the New York school of poets and included John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, and James Schuyler. Their works were deeply influenced by Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism. Guest used language in a painterly manner in her early works, but later poems focused on the actual word rather than the image it conjured. She published some 20 volumes of verse, including The Blue Stairs (1968), The Countess from..
Leonie Adams, in full Leonie Fuller Adams, (born December 9, 1899, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.--died June 27, 1988, New Milford, Connecticut), American poet and educator whose verse interprets emotions and nature with an almost mystical vision.After graduating from Barnard College (A.B., 1922), Adams became editor of The Measure, a literary publication, in 1924. She was persuaded to publish a volume of poetry, Those Not Elect, in 1925. While living in France from 1928 to 1930, Adams published High Falcon & Other Poems (1929). She began to teach the writing of poetry in New York City and in..
Mary Ellen Solt, (Mary Ellen Bottom), American poet (born July 8, 1920, Gilmore City, Iowa--died June 21, 2007, Santa Clarita, Calif.), was a leading figure in the concrete poetry movement, which flourished during the 1960s and featured words arranged on a page to create a visual graphic. For her most notable poem, "Forsythia," the design was fashioned from the letters of the name of the flowering shrub and the Morse Code equivalents of each letter. After earning a B.A. (1941) in English literature from the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and an M.A. (1948) from..
Gabriel Preil, (born Aug. 21, 1911, Yuryev [now Tartu], Estonia, Russian Empire--died June 5, 1993, Jerusalem, Israel), Jewish Estonian poet who, although he lived most of his life in the United States, was internationally known for his introspective and lyrical poems written in Hebrew. He was a powerful influence on younger Israeli poets both through his own works and through his translations into Hebrew of such American poets as Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Robinson Jeffers.Preil immigrated to the United States in 1922 and became a citizen in 1928. He settled in New York City, where he..
Jack Herbert Gilbert, American poet (born Feb. 17, 1925, Pittsburgh, Pa.--died Nov. 13, 2012, Berkeley, Calif.), provided astute insights into the vicissitudes of everyday life in verse that reflected his own experiences with love and the loss of it, as well as his forthright impressions of the various places that he called home, ranging from locales in the U.S. to Greece and Japan. Following the accolades that came with the publication of his first book of poems, Views of Jeopardy (1962), Gilbert basked briefly in the glow of a Yale Younger Poets award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination, but he soon..
Robert P. Tristram Coffin, in full Robert Peter Tristram Coffin, (born March 18, 1892, Brunswick, Maine, U.S.--died January 20, 1955, Portland, Maine), American poet whose works, based on New England farm and seafaring life, were committed to cheerful depiction of the good in the world.Coffin regarded poetry as a public function that should speak well of life so that people might find inspiration. In vigorous, fresh colloquial verse, he expanded the particulars of his youth in Maine in order to describe experiences that would be universal to Americans. Strange Holiness (1935) won the Pulitzer..
George Moses Horton, (born 1797?, Northampton county, N.C., U.S.--died 1883?), African American poet who wrote sentimental love poems and antislavery protests. He was one of the first professional black writers in America.A slave from birth, Horton was relocated, in 1800, to a plantation near Chapel Hill, seat of the University of North Carolina, where he often came into contact with the university students. From the 1820s, they regularly commissioned him to create love poems, including clever acrostic compositions based on the names of their lovers. He received literary training from..
Howard Moss, (born Jan. 22, 1922, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died Sept. 16, 1987, New York), American poet and editor who was the poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine for almost 40 years.Moss, whose father had immigrated to the United States from Lithuania, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1943 and published the first of 12 volumes of poetry, The Wound and the Weather, in 1946. Later volumes include Finding Them Lost (1965), which shows, according to one critic, that Moss had "mastered the lyric," and Buried City (1975), in which images of New York City hold sway in meditations on death..
Alan Dugan, (born February 12, 1923, New York City, New York, U.S.--died September 3, 2003, Hyannis, Massachusetts), American poet who wrote with bemused sarcasm about mundane topics, infusing them with irony. A fully developed style is evident in his first verse collection, Poems (1961), which in 1962 won a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.Dugan served in World War II and attended Queens College, City University of New York, and Olivet (Michigan) College before graduating from Mexico City College (B.A., 1949). Propelled by the success of Poems, he accepted grants to travel and to..
Jayne Cortez, (born May 10, 1936, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, U.S.--died December 28, 2012, New York, New York), American poet especially noted for performing her own poetry, often accompanied by jazz. She recorded several CDs with her band, the Firespitters.Cortez was artistic director of the Watts Repertory Theatre Company from 1964 to 1970. Unfulfilled love, unromantic sex, and jazz greats from Bessie Smith to Cortez's ex-husband Ornette Coleman are subjects of her first collection of poems, Pissstained Stairs and the Monkey Man's Wares (1969). With the poems of Festivals and Funerals..
Melvin Tolson, in full Melvin Beaunorus Tolson, (born Feb. 6, 1898, Moberly, Mo., U.S.--died Aug. 29, 1966, Dallas, Texas?), African-American poet who worked within the modernist tradition to explore African-American issues. His concern with poetic form and his abiding optimism set him apart from many of his contemporaries. Writing after the Harlem Renaissance but adhering to its ideals, Tolson was hopeful of a better political and economic future for African-Americans.Tolson attended Lincoln University (B.A., 1923) and received a master's degree from Columbia University in 1940...
Tess Gallagher, nee Tess Bond, (born July 21, 1943, Port Angeles, Washington, U.S.), American poet, author of naturalistic, introspective verse about self-discovery, womanhood, and family life.Gallagher studied under Theodore Roethke at the University of Washington (B.A., 1968; M.A., 1970) before attending the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop (M.F.A., 1974). Her first full-length volume of verse, Instructions to the Double (1976), is a confessional work about synthesizing her past life with her future career as a poet.In 1978 Gallagher published Portable Kisses, On Your Own,..
Philip Whalen, in full Philip Glenn Whalen, (born October 20, 1923, Portland, Oregon, U.S.--died June 26, 2002, San Francisco, California), American poet who emerged from the Beat movement of the mid 20th century, known for his wry and innovative poetry.Whalen served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 and attended Reed College, Portland (B.A., 1951), before joining the West Coast's nascent Beat movement. Like other Beats, he was contemptuous of structured, academic writing and was interested in Asian religions, personal freedom, and literary experimentation. Unlike typical Beat poetry,..
Josephine Jacobsen, in full Josephine Winder Jacobsen, nee Josephine Winder Boylan, (born August 19, 1908, Coburg, Ontario, Canada--died July 9, 2003, Cockeysville, Maryland, U.S.), Canadian-born American poet and short-story writer.Soon after her birth, Jacobsen moved with her family from Canada to the United States. She began writing poetry as a child, and her first poem was published when she was 11 years old. Jacobsen was educated by tutors and at the Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, Maryland, from which she graduated in 1926.Jacobsen's first poetry collection, Let Each Man..
Ethel Lynn Beers, nee Ethelinda Eliot, (born Jan. 13, 1827, Goshen, N.Y., U.S.--died Oct. 11, 1879, Orange, N.J.), American poet known for her patriotic and sentimental verse, particularly the popular Civil War poem "The Picket Guard."A descendant of John Eliot, the "Apostle to the Indians," Ethelinda Eliot began at an early age to contribute to periodicals under the name Ethel Lynn. In March 1846 she married William H. Beers, and thereafter she published under the name Ethel Lynn Beers. On November 30, 1861, Harper's Weekly Magazine printed her poem entitled "The Picket Guard," which soon..
May Swenson, (born May 28, 1919, Logan, Utah, U.S.--died Dec. 4, 1989, Ocean View, Del.), American poet whose work is noted for its engaging imagery, intricate wordplay, and eccentric use of typography. Her poetry has been compared to that of Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, and George Herbert.Swenson was educated at Utah State University (B.A., 1939). She later moved to New York City and worked for New Directions Press as a stenographer and editor. She was writer in residence at several North American universities.Her first published volume of poetry, Another Animal (1954),..
W.D. Snodgrass, in full William DeWitt Snodgrass, pseudonym S.S. Gardons, (born Jan. 5, 1926, Wilkinsburg, Pa., U.S.--died Jan. 13, 2009, Erieville, N.Y.), American poet whose early work is distinguished by a careful attention to form and by a relentless yet delicate examination of personal experiences.Snodgrass was educated at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pa., and the University of Iowa. He taught at Cornell University (1955-57), the University of Rochester (1957-58), Wayne State University (1958-68), Syracuse University (1968-76), and the University of Delaware (1979-94).Snodgrass's..
John Gneisenau Neihardt, (born Jan. 8, 1881, near Sharpsburg, Ill., U.S.--died Nov. 3, 1973, Columbia, Mo.), American poet, novelist, and short-story writer who described the history of American Indians, especially the Sioux.Neihardt grew up in Kansas and Nebraska, and it was his contact with the residents of those states, both white and Indian, that led him to write such works as The Lonesome Trail (1907), a collection of short stories about pioneering heroes and the Omaha Indians. The lyric sequence A Bundle of Myrrh (1908) appeared the following year and established his reputation as a..
David Ignatow, (born Feb. 7, 1914, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--died Nov. 17, 1997, East Hampton, N.Y.), American poet whose works address social as well as personal issues in meditative, vernacular free verse.Ignatow worked for a time as a journalist with the WPA Federal Writers' Project. His first book of poetry, entitled Poems (1948), was followed by The Gentle Weight Lifter (1955). Many of the pieces in the latter collection, as well as many in Say Pardon (1961) and Figures of the Human (1964), are written in the form of parables. From the 1960s Ignatow taught poetry at several American colleges..
Moyshe Leyb Halpern, (born Jan. 2, 1886, Zlotchev, Galicia, Austria-Hungary--died Aug. 31, 1932, New York, N.Y., U.S.), American poet whose unsentimental and psychologically complex free verse in Yiddish extols socialism, individual rights, and social justice.Sent to Vienna at age 12 to study sign painting, Halpern learned about socialism and German literature and began writing in German. After he returned home and became influenced by Yiddish writers and intellectuals, he wrote only in Yiddish. Halpern immigrated to North America in 1908, living in poverty in Montreal and New York..
Harold Norse, (Harold Rosen), American Beat poet (born July 6, 1916, Brooklyn, N.Y.--died June 8, 2009, San Francisco, Calif.), broke ground with his lyrical and confessional poems on gay identity and eroticism at a time when there were few works dealing with homosexual themes. He became a leading poet of the gay liberation movement. Norse's more-than-70-year career was marked by his professional and often romantic relationships in leading literary circles; he was friends with Beat writers Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, as well as playwright Tennessee Williams, author James Baldwin,..
Etheridge Knight, (born April 19, 1931, Corinth, Miss., U.S.--died March 10, 1991, Indianapolis, Ind.), African American poet who emerged as a robust voice of the Black Arts movement with his first volume of verse, Poems from Prison (1968). His poetry combined the energy and bravado of African American "toasts" (long narrative poems that were recited in a mixture of street slang, specialized argot, and obscenities) with a concern for freedom from oppression.Knight grew up in Paducah, Ky., dropped out of high school, became addicted to drugs, and joined the U.S. Army, serving as a medical technician..
Alfred Corn, in full Alfred Dewitt Corn III, (born August 14, 1943, Bainbridge, Georgia, U.S.), American poet known for meditative lyrics that show a mastery of traditional forms.Corn was raised in Valdosta, Georgia, and attended Emory University (B.A., 1965) and Columbia University (M.A., 1970). In the 1970s he traveled throughout Europe and then returned to the United States to teach at various universities. He earned critical acclaim for his first volume of verse, All Roads at Once (1976). The poems in A Call in the Midst of the Crowd (1978) are all about New York City, notably the lengthy..
Bob Kaufman, in full Robert Garnell Kaufman, (born April 18, 1925, New Orleans, La., U.S.--died Jan. 12, 1986, San Francisco, Calif.), innovative African-American poet who became an important figure of the Beat movement.With a Roman Catholic mother, a German-Jewish father, and a grandmother who believed in voodoo, Kaufman was exposed to a wide variety of religious influences; he eventually adopted Buddhism. At the age of 13 he left home to join the U.S. Merchant Marine; while sailing around the globe nine times, he survived four shipwrecks, severe frostbite, and hearing loss. He settled..
Florence Van Leer Earle Nicholson Coates, nee Florence Van Leer Earle, (born July 1, 1850, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.--died April 6, 1927, Philadelphia), American poet whose carefully crafted, contemplative verse gained the respect of many of the leading literary figures of her day.She was educated in New England and in Paris. Subsequently she studied music in Brussels. In 1872 she married William Nicholson, who died five years later, and in 1879 she married Edward H. Coates, a Philadelphia financier. For some two decades thereafter her life was one of social leadership, including membership..
A.R. Ammons, in full Archie Randolph Ammons, (born February 18, 1926, Whiteville, North Carolina, U.S.--died February 25, 2001, Ithaca, New York), American poet who was one of the leading late 20th-century exponents of the Transcendentalist tradition.A 1949 graduate of Wake Forest College (now University), Ammons worked as an elementary school principal and as a glass company executive before turning his full attention to literature. From 1964 to 1998 he taught creative writing at Cornell University. In his first collection of poems, Ommateum: With Doxology (1955), Ammons wrote about..
Cynthia Macdonald, nee Cynthia Lee, (born February 2, 1928, New York, New York, U.S.--died August 3, 2015, Logan, Utah), American poet who employed a sardonic, often flippant tone and used grotesque imagery to comment on the mundane.Lee was educated at Bennington (Vermont) College (B.A., 1950); Mannes College of Music, New York City; and Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York (M.A., 1970). She pursued a career as a soprano in opera and concert singing from 1953 to 1966. During that time she married (1954) Elmer Cranston Macdonald, an oil executive; they divorced in 1976. She taught English..
Gilbert Sorrentino, (born April 27, 1929, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--died May 18, 2006, Brooklyn), American poet and experimental novelist, whose use of devices such as nonchronological structure illustrated his dictum that "form not only determines content but form invents content."From 1956 to 1960 Sorrentino was editor and publisher of Neon, a magazine that featured works by Beat writers; he was also book editor (1961-65) for Kulchur. In 1982 Sorrentino, who attended Brooklyn College but did not graduate, began teaching creative writing at Stanford University, where he became professor..
Albert Goldbarth, (born January 31, 1948, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), American poet whose erudition and wit found expression in compulsively wordy but dazzling compositions.Educated at the University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A., 1969), the University of Iowa (M.F.A., 1971), and the University of Utah (graduate study, 1973-74), Goldbarth taught at several schools, notably the University of Texas at Austin and Wichita (Kansas) State University.In his early career, Goldbarth sometimes published more than one collection of poems annually, and his preference for longer poetic forms took..
Edward Taylor, (born 1645?, in or near Coventry, Warwickshire, Eng.--died June 24, 1729, Westfield, Mass. [U.S.]), one of the foremost poets in colonial British North America.Unwilling to subscribe to the required oath of conformity because of his staunch adherence to Congregational principles, Taylor gave up schoolteaching in England, emigrated to New England, and was immediately admitted as a sophomore by the president of Harvard College, Increase Mather. After his graduation in 1671, he became minister in the frontier village of Westfield, Mass., where he remained until his death...
Robert Hayden, in full Robert Earl Hayden, original name Asa Bundy Sheffey, (born August 4, 1913, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.--died February 25, 1980, Ann Arbor, Michigan), African American poet whose subject matter is most often the black experience.Hayden grew up in Detroit and attended Detroit City College (now Wayne State University; B.A., 1936). He joined the Federal Writers' Project, researching black folklore and the history of the Underground Railroad in Michigan. His first collection of poems, Heart-Shape in the Dust, was published in 1940. While a graduate student at the University..
Celia Laighton Thaxter, nee Celia Laighton, (born June 29, 1835, Portsmouth, N.H., U.S.--died Aug. 26, 1894, Appledore Island, N.H.), American poet whose work centred thematically on the islands and ocean of her youth.Celia Laighton grew up among the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast. On Appledore Island her father operated a successful resort hotel that included among its guests Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry David Thoreau, William Morris Hunt, Childe Hassam, Lucy Larcom, and Sarah Orne Jewett. In 1851 she married Levi L. Thaxter, who..
Michael S. Harper, in full Michael Steven Harper, (born March 18, 1938, New York, New York, U.S.--died May 7, 2016), African-American poet whose sensitive, personal verse is concerned with ancestral kinship, jazz and the blues, and the separation of the races in America.Harper grew up in New York City and in West Los Angeles. He was educated at Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A., 1961; M.A., 1963), and the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa (M.F.A., 1963). He taught at several West Coast colleges before joining the faculty of Brown University..
Ted Kooser , byname of Theodore Kooser, (born April 25, 1939, Ames, Iowa, U.S.), American poet, whose verse was noted for its tender wisdom and its depiction of homespun America.Kooser attended Iowa State University (B.S., 1962) and the University of Nebraska (M.A., 1968) and briefly taught high-school English before settling into an insurance career that continued until his retirement in 1998. In 1970 he began teaching creative writing part-time at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.Kooser's subject is everyday experience. His poetry, generally short, treats the Midwestern landscape..
Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton, nee Sarah Wentworth Apthorp, pseudonym Constantia or Philenia, (born August 1759, Boston, Mass. [U.S.]--died May 14, 1846, Quincy, Mass., U.S.), American poet whose verse, distinctively American in character, was admired in her day.Sarah Apthorp was the daughter of a well-to-do merchant and evidently acquired an unusually thorough education. In 1781 she married Perez Morton. She had formed the habit of writing verse in childhood, and in 1789 she began contributing to the Seat of the Muses department of the newly established Massachusetts Magazine. Her..
Stanley Kunitz, in full Stanley Jasspon Kunitz, (born July 29, 1905, Worcester, Mass., U.S.--died May 14, 2006, New York, N.Y.), American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet noted for his subtle craftsmanship and his treatment of complex themes.Kunitz attended Harvard University, where he earned a B.A. degree in 1926 and an M.A. in 1927. While working as an editor, he contributed poems to magazines, eventually compiling them in his first book, Intellectual Things (1930). He served for two years in the army during World War II, after which he began working as a professor and visiting lecturer at several..
William Meredith, in full William Morris Meredith, Jr., (born Jan. 9, 1919, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died May 30, 2007, New London, Conn.), American poet whose formal and unadorned verse was compared to that of Robert Frost. Meredith was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1988.Meredith attended Princeton University (A.B., 1940), where he first began to write poetry. After a short stint as a reporter for the New York Times, he joined the army and during World War II was a pilot with the U.S. Navy; he also served (1952-54) in the Korean War. In the mid-1940s Meredith embarked on a teaching career, holding posts..
Louis Zukofsky, (born Jan. 23, 1904, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died May 12, 1978, Port Jefferson, N.Y.), American poet, the founder of Objectivist poetry and author of the massive poem "A."The son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Zukofsky grew up in New York, attended Columbia University (M.A., 1924), and taught at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1947-1966). By the 1930s he had begun the ill-defined Objectivist movement, and poets as radically different as William Carlos Williams, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound contributed to the special Objectivist issue of Poetry magazine (1931) and to An..
William Everson, in full William Oliver Everson, byname Brother Antoninus, (born Sept. 10, 1912, Sacramento, Calif., U.S.--died June 3, 1994, Santa Cruz, Calif.), American Roman Catholic poet whose works record a personal search for religious vision in a violent, corrupt world.Raised by Christian Scientist parents, Everson became an agnostic in his teens; while attending Fresno (California) State College, he read the verse of Robinson Jeffers and resolved to become a poet. His first book, These Are the Ravens, was published in 1935. He was drafted during World War II but served at a work..
Louis Simpson, in full Louis Aston Marantz Simpson, (born March 27, 1923, Kingston, Jamaica--died September 14, 2012, Stony Brook, New York, U.S.), Jamaican-born American poet and critic, notable for his marked development in poetic style. In 1964 he won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his volume At the End of the Open Road (1963).At age 17 Simpson moved from Jamaica to New York City, where he attended Columbia University. Although his education was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army (1943-45), he graduated from Columbia in 1948 (Ph.D., 1959). During the 1950s he worked as a book editor..
William Carlos Williams, (born September 17, 1883, Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.--died March 4, 1963, Rutherford), American poet who succeeded in making the ordinary appear extraordinary through the clarity and discreteness of his imagery.After receiving an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1906 and after internship in New York and graduate study in pediatrics in Leipzig, he returned in 1910 to a lifetime of poetry and medical practice in his hometown.In Al Que Quiere! (1917; "To Him Who Wants It!") his style was distinctly his own. Characteristic poems that proffer Williams's..
Mona Van Duyn, in full Mona Jane Van Duyn, (born May 9, 1921, Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.--died December 2, 2004, University City, Missouri), American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet noted for her examination of the daily lives of ordinary people and for mixing the prosaic with the unusual, the simple with the sophisticated. She is frequently described as a "domestic poet" who celebrated married love.Van Duyn attended Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa; B.A., 1942) and the University of Iowa (M.A., 1943). She taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop during the..
Jorie Graham, (born May 9, 1951, New York City, New York, U.S.), American poet whose abstract intellectual verse is known for its visual imagery, complex metaphors, and philosophical content.Graham grew up in France and Italy. After attending the Sorbonne, she continued her education at New York University (B.F.A., 1973) and at the University of Iowa (M.F.A., 1978). She taught in Kentucky, California, and New York, returned to the University of Iowa to teach in 1983, and began splitting her time between Iowa and Harvard University in 2000. She was influenced by European visual art as well as..
Daniel Hoffman, in full Daniel Gerard Hoffman, (born April 3, 1923, New York, New York, U.S.--died March 30, 2013, Haverford, Pennsylvania), American poet and educator whose verse is noted for its merging of history, myth, and personal experience. These concerns are also evident in his numerous critical studies.Hoffman attended Columbia University in New York, from which he received an A.B. (1947), an M.A. (1949), and a Ph.D. (1956). During World War II he served in the Air Force, working for a journal that covered aeronautical research and development; Zone of the Interior: A Memoir, 1942-1947..
Frank Bidart, (born May 27, 1939, Bakersfield, California, U.S.), American poet whose introspective verse, notably dramatic monologues by troubled characters, deal with personal guilt, family life, and madness. His unconventional punctuation and typography give his colloquial and economical style an added emphasis.Bidart graduated from the University of California, Riverside, and later studied at Harvard University. He joined the faculty at Wellesley College in 1972. His first volume of verse was Golden State (1973). It contains "Golden State," an autobiographical account of..
Adelaide Crapsey, (born Sept. 9, 1878, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--died Oct. 8, 1914, Rochester, N.Y.), American poet whose work, produced largely in the last year of her life, is perhaps most memorable for the disciplined yet fragile verse form she created, the cinquain.Crapsey grew up in Rochester, New York. She was the daughter of the Reverend Algernon Sidney Crapsey, an Episcopal clergyman who in 1906 was defrocked after a celebrated heresy trial. After attending Kemper Hall preparatory school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, she entered Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, from which she graduated..
Diane di Prima, (born Aug. 6, 1934, New York, N.Y., U.S.), American poet, one of the few women of the Beat movement to attain prominence.After attending Swarthmore (Pa.) College (1951-53), di Prima moved to New York City's Greenwich Village, living the bohemian lifestyle that typified the Beat movement. Her first book of poetry, This Kind of Bird Flies Backward, was published in 1958. In 1961 di Prima and LeRoi Jones (now Amiri Baraka) began a monthly poetry journal, Floating Bear, that featured their own poetry and that of other notable Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs...
C.K. Williams, in full Charles Kenneth Williams, (born November 4, 1936, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.--died September 20, 2015, Hopewell, New Jersey), American poet who was known for his moral passion and for his lengthy meandering lines of verse, though his early work was characterized by short lines and an acid tone.Williams was educated at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania) and the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., 1959). In 1972 he became a contributing editor for American Poetry Review. He won critical acclaim with the collection Lies (1969), which contains lyrical yet vituperative..
Maria Gowen Brooks, original name Abigail Gowen, married name (in full) Mary Abigail Gowen Brooks, byname Maria del Occidente, (born 1794?, Medford, Mass., U.S.--died Nov. 11, 1845, Matanzas, Cuba), American poet whose work, though admired for a time, represented a florid and grandiose style not greatly appreciated since.Abigail Gowen grew up in a prosperous and cultured family. After the death of her father in 1809, she came under the guardianship of John Brooks, a Boston merchant and the widower of her elder sister Lucretia. In 1810 she married Brooks, who was more than 30 years her senior...
Hilda Doolittle, byname H.D., (born September 10, 1886, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.--died September 27, 1961, Zurich, Switzerland), American poet, known initially as an Imagist. She was also a translator, novelist-playwright, and self-proclaimed "pagan mystic."Doolittle's father was an astronomer, and her mother was a pianist. She was reared in the strict Moravian tradition of her mother's family. From her parents she gained, on her father's side, an intellectual inheritance, and, on her mother's, an artistic and mystical one. (The Moravians, descended in part from the German..
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Harriet Monroe, (born Dec. 23, 1860, Chicago, Ill., U.S.--died Sept. 26, 1936, Arequipa, Peru), American founder and longtime editor of Poetry magazine, which, in the first decade of its existence, became the principal organ for modern poetry of the English-speaking world.Monroe made early use of the poetry volumes found in the library of her father, a lawyer. She was a lonely child--as she later wrote in her posthumously published autobiography, A Poet's Life: Seventy Years in a Changing World (1938)--and found companionship in her father's books. She was educated at the Dearborn Seminary..
Genevieve Taggard, (born November 28, 1894, Waitsburg, Washington, U.S.--died November 8, 1948, New York, New York), American poet and biographer of Emily Dickinson who was much admired for her lyric verse that deftly and passionately mingles intellectual, personal, social, and aesthetic concerns.From 1896 Taggard grew up in Hawaii, where her parents were missionaries. In the fall of 1914 she entered the University of California, Berkeley. She worked her way through college, edited the literary magazine, the Occident, and graduated in 1919. Later that year, in December, Harper's published..
Charles Wright, (born August 25, 1935, Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, U.S.), American poet known for his lyricism and use of lush imagery in his poems about nature, life and death, and God.Wright attended Davidson College (B.A., 1957) in North Carolina, where he studied history. From 1957 to 1961 he served in the United States Army Intelligence Corps in Verona, Italy. Traveling through Italy with Ezra Pound's Cantos as a kind of guidebook, Wright developed a strong attachment to the Italian landscape, which would later influence his poetry. He received a master's degree from the University of Iowa..