Raab, Lawrence (b. 1946), was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Raab received his B.A. from Middlebury College and his M.A. from Syracuse University. He has been awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Bess Hokin Award for Poetry, a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Robert Frost Fellowship from the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference. He is the author of "What We Don’t Know About Each Other", "Collector of Cold Weather", "Other Children", and "Probable World", and his poems have been published in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, and The Paris Review. He has taught writing at The American University in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Michigan, and he is currently professor of English at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he has taught since 1976.
Ramanujan, A.K. (1929-1993), was born in Mysore, India, in 1929 and educated in Mysore and Pune, and later at Indiana University in the U.S.A. He taught English Literature in India for some years. From 1962 he taught at the University of Chicago, where he was the William E.Colvin Professor in the Departments of South Asian Languages and Linguistics. Ramanujan has been recognised as the world's most profound scholar of South Asian language and culture. His poetry collections are: "The Striders" (1966), "Relations" (1971), "Selected Poems" (1976), and "Second Sight" (1986). He also translated numerous Indian folk tales into English and published two collections of verse in Kannada. His translations of ancient Tamil and medieval Kannada poetry have been widely acclaimed, and are published as "The Interior Landscape" (1967), "Speaking of Siva" (1972), "Hymns for the Drowning" (1981), and "Poems of Love and War" (1985). He was awarded the MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1983. "Uncollected Poems and Prose" was published posthumously by the University of Chicago Press.
Reed, Henry (1914-1986) was born in Erdington near Birmingham (England) and attended the University of Birmingham, graduating with first class honours before being awarded his Master of Arts for a much acclaimed thesis on Thomas Hardy. He began his working life as a free lance journalist and had just taken a teaching post in Aston when the Second World War intervened. He was then conscripted into the Royal Army where he was given the role of drill instructor. Ill health, and perhaps the Army’s realisation that Reed’s linguistic abilities could be better utilised, secured his transfer to Naval Intelligence in the Code and Cypher School at Bletchley, where he was to spend the rest of the War. Reed’s writing talents lay particularly in the composition of poetry and this he continued to pursue throughout his military service. As the War entered its final stages in 1944 Reed’s poetry was brought to the attention of the BBC, which wwas searching for new writers in preparation for peacetime audiences. From then onwards, Reed became a major contributor to BBC radio: as poet, critic, playwright, and translator/adaptor. Fittingly, his last play for the BBC in 1979 was a reworking of the first one he had written for them in 1944: an adaptation of Melville’s Moby Dick. Among his works are a Greek play "Pytheas", two biographical plays charting the life of the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, with whom Reed heavily identified himself – "The Unblest" and "The Monument" – and the series of plays in his "Hilda Tablet" series. Reed was encouraged by support from E.M. Forster, who praised Reed's poem "The Return" when it was broadcast on BBC radio on Christmas Eve 1944. Reed left behind a considerable collection of unpublished poetry, much of which is in the University of Birmingham (U.K.) Library. Some of these poems were published for the first time in Jon Stallworthy's "Henry Reed: Collected Poems" (OUP, 1991).
Univ. of Birmingham, U.K. library
Roberts, Lynette (1909-1995). Evelyn ("Lynette") Beatrice Roberts was born in Argentina on 4 July 1909, in Buenos Aires, to parents of Welsh extraction. While still young she moved to Britain, and studied in London at the Central School for Arts and Crafts (now part of Central St Martins College of Art and Design). In 1939 she married the poet and literary editor Keidrych Rhys at Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire, and they settled in the neighbouring LLanybri, where they lived during World War II in relative poverty, compared with what she was used to. She and her husband had two children, a daughter, Angharad, born in April 1945, and a son, Pridein, born in November 1946.
In Llanybri she painted and wrote, and in 1944 her collection Poems were published by Faber and Faber. She immortalised her village in her "Poem from Llanybri". This poem was addressed to the poet, Alun Lewis, to whom Roberts confessed to being attracted.In 1949, she and Keidrych Rhys divorced. In 1951 Faber and Faber published her Gods with stainless ears: a heroic poem. After she became a Jehovah's Witness she ceased to publish.
Later in life Roberts repudiated her work and refused to permit it to be reprinted. An edition of her collected poems was issued by Seren Press after her death but was immediately withdrawn because of legal problems with the Roberts estate; a new Collected Poems finally appeared in 2006 from Carcanet, edited by Patrick McGuinness. A volume of miscellaneous prose, diaries from her time in Llanybri, correspondence with Robert Graves, memoirs of the Sitwells and T. S. Eliot, an essay on "village dialect" and short stories appeared in 2008. An unpublished novel, Nesta, written in 1944, is apparently lost. The Endeavour: Captain Cook's first voyage to Australia (1954) was a prose work. She died on 26 September 1995, at Ferryside, Carmarthenshire.
Robinson, Edwin Arlington 1869–1935, American poet, b. Head Tide, Maine, attended Harvard (1891–93). At his death, many critics considered Robinson the greatest poet in the United States. He is now best remembered for his short poems characterizing various residents of “Tilbury Town,” which was based on his hometown, Gardiner, Maine. His first volume of verse, "The Torrent and the Night Before" (1896), was revised and reissued as "The Children of the Night" (1897). In 1899, Robinson settled in New York City. Although his third volume of verse, "Captain Craig" (1902), was poorly received by critics, it attracted the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who secured Robinson a job in the New York customshouse. He finally achieved critical recognition with "The Man against the Sky" (1916). Thereafter he concentrated on long psychological narrative poems, such as "Avon’s Harvest" (1921), "The Man Who Died Twice" (1924; Pulitzer Prize), "Dionysus in Doubt" (1925), and the Arthurian romances "Merlin" (1917), "Lancelot" (1920), and "Tristram" (1928; Pulitzer Prize). A quiet, introverted man, Robinson never married and became legendary for his reclusiveness. Although his later poetry reveals a deep consciousness of social issues, an experimentation with symbolism, and an increasingly optimistic view of human destiny, his most lasting work is probably his early verse. “Miniver Cheevy” and “Richard Cory” are among the most famous of his brief dramatic poems. Volumes of his collected poems were published in 1921 (Pulitzer Prize), 1937, and years after his work fell out of popular and critical fashion, in 1999.
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Robinson, Mary Darby (1758-1800) was born in Bristol, England. Abandoned by her father, the mother and five childred moved to London. Young Mary was brought to the attention of David Garrick, the famous actor, who encouraged her to go on the stage. In 1774 Mary married Thomas Robinson. The Robinsons settled into a lifestyle beyond their means, Mary spending and Thomas gambling. After moving several times to avoid creditors, Thomas was finally arrested for debts. Thomas, Mary and their baby lived in King's Bench prison for over a year. Mary started to write, and published a volume of poems in 1775. "Poems" received little critical support and made little money, but Mary continued to write, publishing "Captivity, A Poem" and "Celadon and Lydia, A Tale" in 1777. After 15 months in prison, Thomas was released. Mary returned to the theatre in hopes of supporting her family, and she was recognized as a promising new actress. Her success as Perdita in "A Winter's Tale" (1779) led to a royal request for a command performance, upon which the 17-year-old Prince of Wales (later King George IV) determined to make her his mistress. The newspapers followed the relationship with glee, publishing daily notes on its suspected progress. Although the affair lasted less than a year, 'the Perdita' was notorious from then on; she became a constant source of discussion and speculation in the newspapers. The Prince's defection left Mary Robinson in a difficult position. She had given up her career as an actress and was deep in debt. Her reputation destroyed, Mary seems to have cared little about causing further scandal. She demanded £25,000 for the return of the prince's letters. She settled for £5,000 paid by George III, enough to stave off her creditors. In 1782, Mary obtained a further annuity for herself and her daughter in return for the surrender of the Prince's bond. Mary's next years saw a succession of lovers associated with the court, including Banastre Tarleton, who became her companion for fifteen years. (Her husband Thomas, though still alive, was uninvolved in her later life.) Tarleton's financial management was no better than Thomas', and eventually creditors began to gather again. Mary's possessions were seized and auctioned off. When a French duke offered his hospitality in the fall of 1784, Tarleton and Mary quietly left for France. They spent the next four years in France and Germany. After returning to England, Tarleton was eventually elected to Parliament, while Mary Robinson wrote prolifically, to considerable acclaim. A collection entitled "Poems" was published in 1791. A second volume of "Poems" followed in 1794; a sonnet sequence, "Sappho and Phaeon" in 1796; and finally "Lyrical Tales" (1800). Robinson frequently contributed poetry to the Morning Post, and eventually edited their poetry page. She experimented with a variety of forms, including blank verse, such as "The Widow's Home". Her mature work excited the admiration of Coleridge, who showed her parts of his as-yet unpublished "Kubla Khan". Some of Robinson's later works deal with abuse of power. To publish her more assertive, sexual, and comedic verses she tended to publish under pseudonyms such as 'Tabitha Bramble' (a feisty spinster character from Tobias Smollett's 1771 novel, "The Expedition of Humphry Clinker"), 'Oberon' (a male voice), and 'Bridget'. Robinson's prose was more lucrative than her poetry. The money helped her support herself, her mother and daughter, and often Tarleton. Novels such as "Vancenza" (1792), "The Widow" (1794), "Angelina" (1796), and "Walsingham" (1797) went through multiple editions and were often translated into French and German. They owed part of their popularity to their suspected autobiographical (and therefore scandalous) elements. In her final writings, Mary Robinson sought to describe and justify her life. She expressed her disillusionment with marriage in a work of social criticism entitled "A Letter to the Women of England, on the Injustice of Mental Subordination" (1799). It reflected the thinking of her friends Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Mary argued for the right of a wife to leave her husband, as she had done years before. Robinson also began to write her autobiography. But her health became increasingly poor, and she died on December 26, 1800, leaving it unfinished. Her daughter edited and published her memoirs. Though Robinson's reputation may have helped to sell her writing during her lifetime, it seriously limited her popularity after her death. From the Regency to the Victorian age, strict attitudes led to a rejection of the literary work of such a notorious woman. Currently, there is a positive re-evaluation of her work, particularly her later poetry.
Excerpted from the excellent U. of Pennsylvania web site:
Rooten, Luis d'Antin van, (1906-1973), was born in Mexico City, coming to the U.S. as a child. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA degree in architecture, and worked in that field until the second World War. He developed an interest in the stage, and acted at the Cleveland Playhouse. His vocal qualities got him into radio, and in addition to radio serial work ("Nero Wolfe" was a prominent starring role), he got recruited by the Army as a radio announcer. His excellent language skills made him especially valuable, as he could broadcast in Spanish, French, and Italian, in addition to English.
After the war, van Rooten became a film and television actor, playing supporting roles in a large number of well-known films and TV programs, especially recognizable for his sophisticated vocal phrasing. He was also busy doing vocal work: in Walt Disney's "Cinderella," for example, he is heard as both the King and the Grand Duke. Among several books of humor that he authored, the best known is the one featured on these pages, his brilliant "Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames" of 1967. His ingenious "Frenglish" rendition of Mother Goose rhymes still stands as a creative pinnacle in the field of linguistic fun with verse.
From various sources.
Sandburg, Carl (1878-1967), American poet and Abraham Lincoln biographer. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois. Sandburg first gained recognition when the poem "Chicago," which appeared in the magazine Poetry in 1914, was awarded the magazine's Levinson Prize that same year. Chicago Poems (1916), in which Sandburg used unrhymed free verse and the techniques of imagism, established his reputation as a realist who was concerned with the energy and brutality of urban industrial life. From 1918 to 1933 Sandburg wrote editorials for the Chicago Daily News and wrote such volumes of poetry as Corn Huskers (1918), Smoke and Steel (1920), and Good Morning, America (1928). These poems, noted for their impressionistic style and colloquial vigor, express his faith in the common person and in the future of America. Sandburg's fame as a historical writer rests on his monumental works Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (2 volumes, 1926) and Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (4 volumes, 1939; Pulitzer Prize, 1940). These volumes were condensed by Sandburg in the one-volume "Abraham Lincoln." His other works include a biography of the American photographer Edward Steichen (brother of his wife since 1908, Lillian Steichen), a collection of miscellaneous writings, a novel, his Complete Poems (1950; Pulitzer Prize, 1951), and several children's books. In 1945 Carl and Lillian left their home in Michigan for their dream home, the mountain farm Connemara in Flat Rock, North Carolina, where Lillian (Carl called her 'Paula') could successfully raise her prize-winning goat herd (she was a Phi Beta Kappa in English Literature from the University of Chicago! – not your ordinary goatherder) and Carl could find the peace and inspiration he wanted for his writing. Sandburg died at his beloved Connemara on July 22, 1967, acclaimed as the nation's poet at age 89. Connemara is now a National Historic Site – the first dedicated to a poet. Sandburg's posthumously published volumes of poetry include Breathing Tokens (1978) and Billy Sunday and Other Poems (1993).
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Santayana, George (1863-1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States, wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. Of his nearly 89 years, he spent 39 in the U.S. Santayana is perhaps best known as an aphorist, most famously for his oft-misquoted remark "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Similarly, a quote of Santayana's: "Only the dead have seen the end of war." is often falsely attributed to Plato. His description of fanaticism as "redoubling your effort after you've forgotten your aim" is also well-known.
Santayana was born in Avila, Spain, and came with his family to the U.S., settling in Boston, when he was nine years of age. After graduating from Harvard, Phi Beta Kappa in 1886, he studied a while in Europe before returning to take a teaching position at Harvard. In 1912, having received an inheritance, he resigned from the Harvard Philosophy Department, and spent the rest of his life in Europe, largely at Oxford and in Rome. In addition to a number of professional works in philosophy, he wrote one novel, The Last Puritan (which unexpectedly became a best-seller), an autobiography, Persons and Places, and a number of poems.
Condensed from Wikipedia.
Sassoon, Siegfried (1886-1967), English poet, best known for his lyrics exposing the horrors of war. His volume "Counter-Attack and Other Poems" (1918) contains angry, violent, and satirical poems about World War I trench warfare. He is also known for his fictional autobiography, called "The Memoirs of George Sherston (3 vols., 1928-1936). The first volume, "Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man", is a particularly vivid evocation of the life of the old English country gentry. "Siegfried's Journey" (1945) is a three-volume continuation of the autobiography. During World War I Sassoon was wounded twice, receiving two medals for bravery, and attained the rank of captain. After the war he became a pacifist. He spent some time in the same hospital as Wilfred Owen and encouraged him in his writing.
"The Reader's Encyclopedia."
Saxe, John Gordon (1816-1887), was born in Highgate, Vermont at Saxe's Mills, erected by his settler grandfather, a German immigrant and Loyalist to the Crown. Raised in a strict Methodist home, Saxe was first sent to Wesleyan University which he left after a year, and then to Middlebury College, from which he graduated in 1839. In 1841 he married Sophia Newell Sollace. He was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1843 and tried to run a business with his dutiful and pious older brother, Charles Jewett Saxe. The words "dutiful" and "pious" never applied to the aspiring satirist. Bored by his legal work, Saxe began publishing poems for The Knickerbocker, of which "The Rhyme of the Rail" is his most famous early work. He soon caught the attention of the prominent Boston publishing house, Ticknor and Fields. Though he received no royalties for his first volume, it ran to ten reprintings and eventually outsold works by Hawthorne and Tennyson.
Saxe became a sought after speaker, toured frequently and stayed prolific throughout the 1850s. In 1859 and in 1860 he ran for Governor of Vermont and was beaten both times. As a northern Democrat, he advocated a non-interference policy on slavery and supported Illinois Senator Douglas's policy of "popular sovereignty", a position which rendered the poet extremely unpopular in Republican Vermont. After his second, and even more punishing electoral defeat, Saxe left his home state in 1860 for nearby Albany, New York. Saxe spent his summers in Saratoga, New York, contributed articles for the Albany Evening Journal and Albany Morning Argus, and published poems in Harpers, The Atlantic, and the Knickerbocker and remained popular on the lecture circuit. "The Proud Miss McBride" and "Song of Saratoga" were some of famous works in this period. However, his attempts to re-enter politics remained unsuccessful.
The 1870s, while living in Brooklyn, began a series of woes for the poet. His youngest daughter died of tuberculosis. In 1875 he suffered head injuries in a rail accident near Wheeling, West Virginia, from which he never fully recovered, and then over the next several years his two oldest daughters, his eldest son, and daughter-in-law also died of tuberculosis. In 1879 his wife, under the strain of so many tragedies, burst a blood vessel in her brain and collapsed and died. Including a young son lost in the 1840s, Saxe had buried five of his six children as well as his wife. Saxe sank deep into depression and was moved back to Albany to live with his last surviving child, Charles. His decline from the rollicking poet to grieving recluse earned the sympathy of the people of Albany and when he died in 1887, the New York State Assembly ordered his likeness to be chiseled into the "poet's corner" of the Great Western Staircase in the New York State Capitol.
Seeger, Alan (1888-1916) whose heroic death glorified his youth – was born at New York on the twenty-second of June, 1888. He studied at Harvard; then moved to Paris in 1912, living the life of a student and writer in the Latin Quarter. No one has ever loved Paris more than he. He enlisted in the Foreign Legion of France during the third week of the war in 1914. His service as a soldier was steady, loyal and uncomplaining -- indeed, exultant would not be too strong a word to describe the spirit which seems constantly to have animated his military career. His letters show his mind and heart clearly. He took part in the battle of Champagne. Afterwards, his regiment was allowed to recuperate until May, 1916. On July 1 a general advance was ordered, and on the evening of July 4 the Legion was ordered to attack the village of Belloy-en-Santerre. Seeger's squad was caught by the fire of six machine-guns and he himself was seriously wounded, but he continued to cheer his comrades as they rushed on in what proved a successful charge. He died on the morning of July 5. He knew his poetry was good, and that it would not die with his body. In the last letter he wrote, we find these words: "I will write you soon if I get through all right. If not, my only earthly care is for my poems. Add the ode I sent you and the three sonnets to my last volume and you will have opera omnia quae existant." The twenty or more poems he wrote during active service are included in the "Collected Poems" by Alan Seeger. He wrote his autobiography in one of his last sonnets, paying poetic tribute to Philip Sidney – lover of woman, lover of battle, lover of art:
Sidney, in whom the heydey of romance
His most famous poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death, is almost intolerably painful in its tragic beauty, in its contrast between the darkness of the unchanging shadow and the apple-blossoms of the sunny air – above all, because we read it after both Youth and Death have kept their word, and met at the place appointed. He was an inspired poet. Poetry came from him as naturally as rain from clouds. His magnificent Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen in France has a nobility of phrase that matches the elevation of thought. Work like this cannot be forgotten. Alan Seeger was an Elizabethan. He had a consuming passion for beauty – his only religion. He loved women and he loved war, like the gallant, picturesque old soldiers of fortune. There was no pose in all this; his was a brave, uncalculating, forthright nature, that gave everything he had and was, without a shade of fear or a shade of regret. He is one of the most fiery spirits of our time, and like Rupert Brooke, he will be thought of as immortally young.
From William Lyon Phelps: The Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth Century, 1919, and from A Treasury of War Poetry - British and American poems of the World War 1914-1917, 1918, edited by George Herbert Clarke.
Seth, Vikram was born in Calcutta in 1952. His father was a shoe company executive and his mother was a judge. After completing his primary education, Seth left India to study at Oxford University, earning degrees in philosophy, economics, and politics. He further enrolled at Stanford University, intending to earn a Ph.D in Economics, but never completed his study. While at Stanford, Seth was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing from 1977-1978. During 1980-1982, he studied classical Chinese poetry and different languages at Nanjing University, China. Vikram Seth has published eight notable works - six collections of poetry and two novels. Seth's books of poetry include "Mappings" (1980), "From Heaven Lake" (1983), which discusses a hitchhiking trip through Nepal into India that Seth took while studying in China, "The Humble Administrator's Garden" (1985), "All You Who Sleep Tonight" (1990), "Beastly Tales" (1991), and "Three Chinese Poets" (1992). In 1986, Vikram Seth wrote The Golden Gate, his first novel, called "Byronesque" by some critics. This novel, composed of 690 rhyming tentrameter sonnets, is a satirical romance describing the stories of young professionals in San Francisco. Seth's second novel was "A Suitable Boy," a 1,349 page colossus (noted at the time for being apparently the longest single-volume novel ever published in English) whose publication in 1993 propelled Seth into the public spotlight. In addition to Vikram Seth's literary and poetic achievements, he was commissioned by the English National Opera to write a libretto based on the Greek legend of Arion and the Dolphin. The opera was performed for the first time in June 1994. Orion Children's Books subsequently published a picture book based on the opera in which Vikram Seth's words are illustrated by the acclaimed artist Jane Ray. The book has since been made into an animated TV special entitled "Arion and the Dolphin" which has been seen in several countries. Seth currently resides in New Dehli.
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Shakespeare, William (1564-1616), English playwright and poet, recognized in much of the world as the greatest of all dramatists. A complete, authoritative account of Shakespeare's life does not exist, but it is commonly accepted that he was born in 1564, and it is known that he was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. In 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. They had a daughter in 1583 and twins- a boy and a girl- in 1585. The boy did not survive. By 1592 Shakespeare attained success as an actor and a playwright. The publication of his two narrative poems Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) and of his Sonnets (1609) established his reputation as a gifted and popular poet. Shakespeare's modern reputation, however, is based primarily on the 38 plays attributed to him. He formed his own acting company, the Chamberlain's Men, later called the King's Men, and two theaters, the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars.
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Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822), English poet, who was one of the most influential leaders of the literary movement known as romanticism. He was born near Horsham, Sussex. Shelley was expelled from the University of Oxford because of his part in the writing and circulating of a pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism (1811). Soon, the 19-year-old Shelley married his first wife, Harriet Westbrook, and moved to the Lake District of England to study and write. Two years later, he published his first long serious work, Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem (1813), expressing the freethinking Socialist philosophy of British philosopher William Godwin. In 1816, after his wife Harriet's apparent suicide, Shelley married Godwin's daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft.
In 1817 Shelley produced Laon and Cythna, a long narrative poem later reissued as The Revolt of Islam (1818). During the remaining four years of his life, Shelley produced all his major works, including the short odes "To a Skylark" (1820), "To the West Wind" (1819), and "The Cloud" (1820); the sonnet "Ozymandias" (1818); the verse drama Prometheus Unbound (1820); and the unfinished critical work In Defence of Poetry (1822). In 1822, shortly before his 30th birthday, Shelley was drowned in a storm while sailing.
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Shelton, Richard (b.1933),) is an Arizona writer, poet and emeritus Regents Professor of English at the University of Arizona. He was born in Boise, Idaho. Shelton has written nine books of poetry; his first collection of poems, The Tattooed Desert, won the International Poetry Forum's U.S. Award. His 1992 memoir Going Back to Bisbee, a New York Times Notable Book, was selected for the One Book Arizona program in 2007. Shelton also won the Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1992 for Going Back to Bisbee. In 2000, Shelton received a $100,000 grant from the Lannan Foundation to complete two books. His poems and prose pieces have appeared in more than two hundred magazines and journals including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and The Antioch Review. They have been translated into Spanish, French, Swedish, Polish, and Japanese. In 1974, Shelton established a writer's workshop at the Arizona State Prison, and a number of books of prose and poetry written by men in Shelton’s prison workshops have been published, including the writing of authors Jimmy Santiago Baca and Ken Lamberton. Shelton is currently directing three prison writer’s workshops in three units of the Arizona State Prison. His latest book, Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer is about this experience. It won the 2007 Southwest Books of the Year award.
Sidney, Sir Philip (1554-1586), English poet, courtier, and soldier, who in life was a model of the ideal Renaissance gentleman, and whose devotion to poetry served as an inspiration for the future of English verse. Sidney was born in Penshurst, Kent. While none of his works were published during his lifetime, many of them circulated in manuscript. The best known are Astrophel and Stella (1591), sonnets celebrating a hopeless love affair, and Arcadia (1590), a pastoral romance in verse linked by prose passages. Arcadia was the first considerable work in English in this form and became a model for later pastoral poetry.
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Silverstein, Sheldon ("Shel") Allan (1930-1999) was born in Chicago. He was a renowned poet, playwright, illustrator, screenwriter, and songwriter. Best known for his immensely popular children’s books including The Giving Tree, Falling Up, and A Light in the Attic, Silverstein has delighted tens of millions of readers around the world, becoming one of the most popular and best-loved children's authors of all time. “When I was a kid,” Shel told Publishers Weekly in 1975, “I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls. But I couldn’t play ball. I couldn’t dance. So I started to draw and to write. I was lucky that I didn’t have anyone to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style.” Silverstein drew his first cartoons for the adult readers of Pacific Stars and Stripes when he was a G.I. in Japan and Korea in the 1950’s. He also learned to play the guitar and to write songs, a talent that would later produce such hits as “A Boy Named Sue” for Johnny Cash and “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” for Dr. Hook. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein’s first collection of poems, was published in 1974 and was hailed as an instant classic. Its poems and drawings were applauded for their zany wit, irreverent wisdom, and tender heart. Two more collections followed: A Light in the Attic in 1981, and Falling Up in 1996. Both books dominated bestseller lists for months, with A Light in the Attic shattering all previous records for its 182-week stay on the New York Times list. His poetry books are widely used in schools as a child’s first introduction to poetry. Silverstein enjoyed a long, successful career as a songwriter with credits that included the popular “Unicorn Song” for the Irish Rovers and “I’m Checking Out” written for the film Postcards from the Edge and nominated for an Academy Award in 1991. In 1984, Silverstein won a Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album for Where the Sidewalk Ends – “recited, sung and shouted” by the author. He performed his own songs on a number of albums and wrote others for friends, including 1998’s Old Dogs with country stars Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis, Bobby Bare, and Jerry Reed; and his last children’s recording Underwater Land with singer/songwriter and longtime friend Pat Dailey. Shel Silverstein loved to spend time in Greenwich Village, Key West, Martha’s Vineyard, and Sausalito, California. Up until his death in May 1999, he continued to create plays, songs, poems, stories, and drawings, and most importantly, in Shel’s own words, “have a good time.”
Southey, Robert (1774-1843) was born into a penurious family in Bristol. He was sent to live in Bath with an aunt at the age of two. The aunt raised Southey in the fashionable district of Bath, and nurtured young Southey's intellectual development. Southey began reading Shakespeare and trying to write his own poetry and plays as early as the age of eight. His family had hopes of him joining the clergy. In 1788, Southey entered the Westminster school at the expense of his uncle. One year later, the French Revolution began. The fifteen year old Southey passionately sympathized with the ideals of the French cause. Despite the fact that Westminster's outdated curriculum consisted almost entirely of Latin and Greek, Southey managed to fan his growing radicalism by seeking out works by authors such as Rousseau, Voltaire, and Goethe on his own. Southey went on to Oxford, where the intellectual atmosphere proved to be as stifling as that at Westminster, so Southey was again forced to pursue his own interests with extra-curricular reading and writing. In order to escape life at Oxford and postpone making his decision to join the clergy, Southey took some time off from school in the autumn of 1793. It was at this time that Southey read William Godwin's "Political Justice", which had a profound effect upon him. Godwin's assertion that most social ills were a product of the disparate extremes of poverty and privilege strengthened Southey's commitment to political reform. He finally left the University after his second term. Shortly after leaving Oxford, Southey met Coleridge, forming a tempestuous friendship which would mold his early life and continue until his later years. In 1794, Southey, Coleridge, and other friends came up with the idea of "Pantisocracy," or "equal rule of all" in which the egalitarian principles of the French Revolution could be fully realized. Their goal was to emigrate to America to practice Pantisocracy by forming a communal, utopian settlement where everyone would live in harmony and brotherhood. In order to raise money for their venture, Southey and Coleridge joined forces to write drama and political propaganda, and to write and deliver weekly lectures on politics and history. At this time, they co-wrote the drama entitled "The Fall of Robespierre," which was published by a radical printer at Cambridge under Coleridge's name. Despite their efforts to raise money and interest in their "Pantisocratic" scheme, the project was fraught with difficulties, not the least of which being their growing differences in opinion as to how to realize their goal. This same year Southey wrote "Wat Tyler", based on the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. No doubt motivated by the fact that he had long fancied Wat Tyler a distant ancestor, the play expressed Southey's Republican ideals against the backdrop of a historical event scarily reminiscent of the French Revolution. Southey's friend and future brother-in-law, Robert Lovell, gave the play to the radical printer, James Ridgeway, who expressed an interest in publishing it. In January 1795, Southey visited Ridgeway at Newgate prison in London, where he had recently been incarcerated, to close the deal. Ridgeway's intention was to arrange to have the play printed immediately for the price of 2 shillings and to advance some of the money to Southey to finance his impending marriage to Edith Fricker as well as their emigration with Coleridge and Sarah Fricker to America. But Southey was forced to face disappointment on all counts: "Wat Tyler" was not published, the scheme to emigrate to America to practice "Pantisocracy" never materialized, and his friendship with Coleridge was becoming increasingly strained. The closest Coleridge and Southey ever came to realizing their "Pantisocratic" dream was when they briefly lived together after marrying the Fricker sisters, Edith and Sarah. Their relationship, both philosophical and personal, deteriorated further when Coleridge and Sarah began having marital difficulties. Eventually, Coleridge left his wife and Southey was forced to support both families. It was around this time that Southey accepted Charles Wynn's generous offer to set up an annuity for him if he would study law. This situation occupied only a limited portion of Southey's interest however, as he studied law by day and wrote poetry and prose at night. Eventually, he drifted entirely away from his legal studies and began to concentrate solely on his writing. Between 1796 and 1805 Southey wrote Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem, Thalaba the Destroyer, Madoc,and several volumes of shorter verse. He also wrote numerous ballads, made frequent contributions to The Monthly Magazine and published the popular Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal. After several years of estrangement from Coleridge, the two poets made amends, collaborating on the Devil's Walk in 1799. Over the next few years, Southey's political ideals underwent a metamorphosis. The rise of Napoleon in Europe had only served to bring about a different sort of despotism, and England's decision to go to war with France had resulted in economic and social strife. Although Southey steadfastly remained a champion of the poor and became an outspoken adversary of slavery, he began to cherish the maintenance of social order above all else. After becoming an outspoken member of the Tory party, Southey's changing views led him to accept a position as Britain's Poet Laureate in 1813, a position of honor that he held for 30 years. Most shocking was the fact that he now advocated the censorship of seditious writing, which included what he called "the Satanic school of poetry," led by Byron, as well as the writings of certain journalists. In view of this radical shift toward conservatism, it is not surprising that Southey was accused by his critics of being an "apostate," and abandoning his political convictions. Twenty-three years after Wat Tyler was written, it suddenly resurfaced into a highly charged political atmosphere in which an older, more conservative Southey was at the forefront. On the morning of February 14, 1817, Southey came across an advertisement for the play, published by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, in the Morning Chronicle. Upon learning that Southey was the author, his adversaries, such as William Hazlitt and William Smith, seized upon the play as an example of his hypocrisy, while his friends, such as Wynn, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, defended him vehemently. Despite the effects of Wat Tyler's ill-timed appearance on Southey's reputation, it sold over 60,000 copies and was reprinted by numerous publishers, making it one of his most well-read and commercially successful works. After initially trying to suppress its publication, Southey eventually incorporated the play into his complete works in 1838. Although the reappearance of Wat Tyler forced an older Southey to confront the dissipation of his youthful ideals, it did not significantly affect his career as an esteemed poet and writer. Southey remained Poet Laureate of Britain for 30 years, and eventually died in 1843. He was succeeded by William Wordsworth.
Spender, Sir Stephen (1909-1995), English poet and critic, b. London. His father was a distinguished liberal journalist, and on his mother's side he was partly of German-Jewish descent. He was brought up in Hampstead, and educated at University College School, London, and University College, Oxford. His early poetry – like that of W. H. Auden, C. Day Lewis, and Louis MacNeice, with whom he became associated at Oxford – was inspired by social protest. After leaving Oxford he lived in Germany for a period, in Hamburg and near Isherwood in Berlin, an experience which sharpened his political consciousness. His autobiography, "World within World" (1951), is a re-creation of much of the political and social atmosphere of the 1930s. A member of the political left wing during this early period, he was one of those who wrote of their disillusionment with communism in the essay collection "The God that Failed" (1949). His passionate and lyrical verse, filled with images of the modern industrial world yet intensely personal, is collected in such volumes as "Twenty Poems" (1930), "The Still Centre" (1939), "Poems of Dedication" (1946), "Collected Poems, 1928-1953" (1955), "Selected Poems" (1964), "The Generous Days" (1971), and "Collected Poems 1928-1985" (1986). "The Destructive Element" (1935), "The Creative Element" (1953), "The Making of a Poem" (1955), and "Love-Hate Relations" (1974) contain literary and social criticism. His other works include short stories, the novel "The Backward Son" (1940), translations such as Schiller's "Mary Stuart" (1959), and sociological studies like "The Year of the Young Rebels" (1969). He was co-editor of the magazines Horizon with Cyril Connolly (1939-41) and Encounter (1953-66). Spender was knighted in 1983.
The Oxford Companion to English Literature, and other sources.
Stephens, James (1882-1950), was born in Dublin, Ireland, and grew up in difficult circumstances. Abandoned to an institution at an early age, he ran away, living on the streets and with several families willing to take him into their homes. Stephens’s first story The Greatest Miracle was published in The United Irishman in 1905. From 1905-1910, Stephens attended Gaelic League classes and become involved with political meetings. During this time he published several pieces which focused on Irish national pride, the importance of learning one's Irish language and customs, and remembering the ancient saga heroes. Stephens met many of his great contemporaries during this period including George Russell (AE), George Moore, W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, etc. In 1912, Stephens published The Charwoman’s Daughter and later in the same year his noted work The Crock of Gold. The Crock of Gold was a great success and Stephens moved to Paris so he could concentrate on writing full time. Cynthia Kavanagh who had been his lover since 1907 accompanied him. He married her in 1919. The Demi-Gods was published in 1914 and in 1915 he moved back to Dublin to become the Registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland and stayed in that position till 1924. Stephens witnessed the shooting of a man as a result of the Easter Uprising in Dublin in 1916. This became a turning point for him as he wrote the elegy, Green Granches (1916), and The Insurrection in Dublin (1916). The event intensified his patriotic feelings and renewed his interest in old Irish literature. His collection of poems, Reincarnations was published in 1918. He then wrote three books, Irish Fairy Tales (1920), Deirdre (1923), and In the Land of Youth (1924). Deirdre and In the Land of Youth were intended to be part of a five volume version of Tain. He never wrote the last three volumes due to his failing physical and mental health. Stephens moved to London in 1925. He began a series of lecture tours which extended to the United States. In 1935 Stephens began a literary and personal friendship with James Joyce. Etched in Moonlight, a collection of short stories, was published in 1928. How Saint Patrick Saves the Irish came shortly after. During the 1930’s Stephens wrote poetry influenced by his studies of Eastern literature and philosophy. These offerings were Strict Joy (1930), and Kings and the Moon (1938). Stephens’s moods and depression became very evident in his final volumes. He rebounded in 1937 doing lecturing about poets and poetry on the BBC. He continued that work until his death in 1950. His colleagues considered Stephens to be a genius and Frank O'Connor referred to him as a man with a most agile mind. These characteristics were shown through his writing as he was able to bounce the emotions of characters and subject with ease. He was a writer of many talents, including novels, short stories and poetry. He embraced fantasy, philosophy, and comedy. His characters came from all walks of life and every emotion ranging from love, betrayal, intrigue and heroism. He merged all his literary works to reveal the true life of the Irish. He is remembered by the Irish as he portrayed their love for their customs, language, and their hositilies towards repression. Stephens work never hinted at imitation of the poets of this period for he was uniquely his own person.
Stevens, Wallace (1879-1955), American poet, considered one of the foremost writers of verse of the 20th century. Stevens was born in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Harmonium (1923), Stevens's first collection of poems, contains several of his best-known works. Succeeding volumes of poetry include Ideas of Order (1935), The Man with the Blue Guitar (1937), and The Auroras of Autumn (1950). His Collected Poems (1954) won the 1955 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. A final volume, Opus Posthumous (1957), contains previously unpublished works.
Stevens's most notable poems, many of them dealing with the role of the creative imagination in a world deprived of religious meaning, include "Le Monocle de Mon Oncle," "The Emperor of Ice Cream," "Sunday Morning," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," and two long, reflective poems, "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" and "Esthétique du Mal." The sensuous, elaborate imagery and precise diction of the poems express subtle philosophical themes; the characteristic tone is both lyrical and ironic.
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Still, James, (1906-2001) was born at Double Creek, near Lafayette in Chambers County, in the foothills of the Appalachians in the redhill country of Alabama. He is best known for his poems, novels, and short stories which depict life in eastern Kentucky's Cumberland Plateau region. Still first came into contact with the coal mining culture of central Appalachia as an undergraduate in the late 1920s--along with fellow Appalachian writer Jesse Stuart--at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. Then while a Master's candidate during the early 1930s at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Still was active in student groups that contributed money, goods, and moral support to striking miners in nearby Fentress County and in Harlan County, Kentucky. Since 1932 Still lived in Knott County, Kentucky, in the heart of the eastern Kentucky coal fields. He came to Knott County to work with a boys' club and then was offered a library job at the Hindman Settlement School. He stayed at that job for a number of years, carrying books by foot and horseback to the folk of the eastern Kentucky hills and hollers. It is while holding this job that Still began to write his first stories and poems of the Appalachian region, the first of which appeared in 1935. After the well received publication of his first poetry collection, Hounds on the Mountain (1937), Still resigned as Hindman librarian and settled into the rhythms of central Appalachian life at his cabin at the Dead Mare Branch of the Little Carr Creek near Wolfpen, in Knott County. Still's literary reputation is based largely upon his early output. Specifically, the poetry collection Hounds on the Mountain (1937), the novel River of Earth (1940), and the short story collection On Troublesome Creek (1941). All of these books were highly praised by American writers ranging from Robert Frost, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Katherine Anne Porter, to southern Fugitive-Agrarians such as John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Robert Penn Warren. In the last 25 years, though, Still has basked in a renewed appreciation with the publication of the short story collections Pattern of A Man (1976) and The Run for the Elbertas (1980), as well as the volume of selected poetry entitled The Wolfpen Poems (1986). Still also has published several additional volumes, most of them devoted to aspects of Appalachian folk culture such as folktale or humor. Among these books are Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek: Appalachian Riddles and Rusties (1974), The Wolfpen Rusties: Appalachian Riddles and Gee-Haw Whimmy-Diddles (1975), and Jack and the Wonder Bean (1977). Finally, Still has published juvenile fiction, including the novel Sporty Creek: A Novel about an Appalachian Boyhood (1977). Still was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1941 and 1946. He also has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In addition, Still has had numerous stories included in Best American Short Stories and in the O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories. Upon publication of River of Earth he shared the Southern Author's Award with Thomas Wolfe (for You Can't Go Home Again). In 1994 he was honored as Southern Fiction Writer by the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. James Still died in April, 2001.
By Steve Mooney, from his web site.
Suckling, John (1609-1642) was born at Whitton, between Twickenham and Hounslow, Middlesex, on February 10, 1609. His mother died when the boy was four years of age, in 1613. His father, descendant of a prominent Norfolk family, was appointed Comptroller of James I's household in 1622. Suckling matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1623 but left without taking a degree in 1626. Suckling inherited extensive estates on his father's death in 1626, and was admitted to Gray's Inn in 1627. Just eighteen years old, he pursued a military and ambassadorial career in the Low Countries, and joined the English soldiers serving in the army of Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War. Suckling was knighted in September 1630. He returned to the English court in May, 1632, where he became very popular through his wealth and charm. He was known as a gamester, and is credited with having invented the game of cribbage. In 1637, Suckling wrote the prose work Account of Religion by Reason. His play, Aglaura, was published in 1638 and performed twice for Charles I. The play had two different endings, one tragic and one happy. It was not a critical success, but it introduced the wonderful lyric poem "Why so pale and wan, fond lover?" In the same year, Suckling's comedy The Goblins was published. It was much influenced by Shakespeare's The Tempest and is generally thought to be Suckling's best. In 1639, Suckling recruited and equipped cavalry to help King Charles I in his first Scottish war. He was ridiculed in London for the troops' scarlet uniforms and plumed hats, but he was well-favored by the King. In 1640, Suckling sat in Parliament for Bramber and took part in an unsuccessful action against the Scots. In May, 1641, Suckling took an acitve part in the royalist plot to rescue Strafford from the Tower. When Parliament ordered him to account for his movements, Suckling fled through Dieppe to Paris. He died in Paris a few months later, in 1642, either from suicide by poison, or, as another tradition has it, by the hand of a servant who placed a razor in his boot. Most of Suckling's work first appeared posthumously in Fragmenta Aurea of 1646. Suckling's treated poetry casually, as a pastime, never commiting himself to serious study of literature, and as a result, his poetry suffers from irregularity. Suckling never attached himself to any school of poetry in particular. While his friend, Carew, was a disciple of Jonson, Suckling wrote disparagingly of Jonson both in the Sessions of the Poets and the unfinished drama, The Sad One. He was more inclined in the direction of Donne's style, with its elaborate metaphors and explosive passion. Poems such as Love's World, Farewell to Love, and Sonnet III are most reminiscent of Donne.
Swift, Jonathan (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist and political pamphleteer, considered one of the greatest masters of English prose. He was born in Dublin. In 1689 Swift became secretary to English diplomat and writer Sir William Temple. He returned to Ireland in 1694 and took religious orders. Swift returned to Temple's household in 1696 and supervised the education of Esther Johnson, daughter of the widowed companion to Temple's sister. Swift privately called her Stella, and he began his "Journal to Stella" in 1710. Scholars are unsure of Swift's exact relationship with Stella; they may have been secretly married. Swift's earliest prose work was "The Battle of the Books" (1697), a burlesque of the controversy then raging in literary circles over the relative merits of ancient and modern writers. In 1710 a Tory government came to power in England, and Swift turned his biting satire against the Whigs. He assumed the editorship of the Examiner, the official Tory publication, and defended the Tory administration's policies. Swift's pamphlet "The Conduct of the Allies" (1711), which charged that the Whigs had prolonged the War of the Spanish Succession out of self-interest, was instrumental in bringing about the dismissal of British army commander John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. In 1714 the Tory administration fell, and Swift's political power was ended. In 1724 and 1725 he anonymously issued his "Drapier's Letters", a series of pamphlets that prevented the debasing of Irish currency. In "A Modest Proposal" (1729), Swift ironically suggests that poor Irish children be sold as food to wealthy English, thus turning an economic burden to general profit. For his championship of their cause in these essays, Swift became a hero of the Irish people. Swift's masterpiece, "Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World", more popularly titled "Gulliver's Travels", was published anonymously in 1726 and met with instant success. The satire is an allegorical attack on human society.
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Synge, John Millerton (1871-1909) - pronounced like "sing" - was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. Synge was born in Rathfarnham, County Dublin. His parents were part of the Protestant middle and upper class, and during his childhood he was passionately interested in ornithology. His earliest poems are somewhat Wordsworthian in tone: his first 'literary composition' was a nature diary he made as a child. Synge was educated privately at schools in Dublin and Bray, and later studied piano, flute, violin, music theory and counterpoint at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Synge entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1889, where he graduated with a BA in 1892. While at college, he studied Irish and Hebrew, as well as continuing music studies. He joined the Dublin Naturalists' Field Club and read Charles Darwin. This led him to read Christian counterarguments against Darwin, which he found pathetic. He rejected religion: "Soon after I had relinquished the kingdom of God I began to take up a real interest in the kingdom of Ireland. My politics went round ... to a temperate Nationalism." He traveled to Europe to study and perform music, but changed his mind and decided to focus on literature, moving to Paris in 1894 to enroll at the Sorbonne. In 1896 he met William Butler Yeats who encouraged him to return to Ireland and involve himself in the theater. He later with joined with Yeats and others to form the Irish National Theatre Society, which later would establish the Abbey Theatre. In 1897 Synge suffered his first attack of Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer at the time untreatable, from which he would eventually die.
Decidedly more a dramatist than a poet, Synge produced a series of successful plays for the Abbey Theatre, including The Shadow of the Glen, Riders to the Sea, The Well of the Saints, and the masterpiece for which he is best known, The Playboy of the Western World. All his plays were heavily attacked by Irish protectors of public and private morals, and Playboy caused riots in the street during its opening run at the Abbey Theatre. His poems were not published until the year of his death, then as "Poems and Translations." Synge died at age 38 in a nursing home in Dublin.
Condensed from Wikipedia.
Tagore, Rabindranath (1861-1941), Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel laureate, who tried to deepen mutual Indian and Western cultural understanding. He was born in Calcutta, the son of the philosopher Debendranath Tagore. After 1878 he became the most important and popular author of the colonial era, writing poetry, short stories, novels, plays, and popular songs. A dedicated internationalist and educator, Tagore established a school in 1901 to teach a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies; his school was later expanded into a university, Visva-Bharati. Tagore's writing is highly imagistic, deeply religious, and imbued with his love of nature and his homeland. He was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize in literature. His Collected Poems and Plays was published in 1966.
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Tapahonso, Luci (b. 1953), Navajo, is originally from Shiprock, NM, where she grew up in a family of 11 children. Navajo was her first language but she learned English at home before starting school at the Navajo Methodist Mission in Farmington, NM. She majored in English at the University of New Mexico, as an undergraduate and graduate student. She stayed on there as an Assistant Professor of English, Women's Studies and American Indian Studies for a few years. She has been an Associate Professor of English at the University of Kansas and is now Professor of English at the University of Arizona in Tucson where she teaches Poetry Writing and American Indian Literature. Luci serves on the editorial board of wicazo sa review and was on the edtorial boards of Frontiers from 1991-1996 and of Blue Mesa Review from 1988-1992. She has been a juror for the Poetry Society of America, the Associated Writing Program Awards, and the Stan Steiner Writing Awards. She serves on the Advisory Boards of the Telluride Institute Writers Forum and has been a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission Literature Panel and the Kansas Arts Commission. Luci writes for popular magazines as well as for academic and poetry journals, writing often for New Mexico Magazine. Among the journals where her work has been published are Diné Be Iina, Frontiers, Caliban, Sinister Wisdom, and the Beloit Poetry Journal. She is also sought after as a speaker and has appeared on many NPR, PBS, CBS, ABC and local programs. Her work has been included in theatre productions and been read by William Shatner at the World of Poetry Convention in Las Vegas. It is also available on recordings. Luci serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Museum of the American Indian, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution, and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Indian Law Resource Center, as a Review Consultant for the Cultural Diversity Development Division of American College Testing and reviews manuscripts for the University of Oklahoma Press, the University of Arizona Press, the University of Nebraska Press, and Cornell University Press. Luci began to write poetry at the age of 8 or 9. She is now the author of five books of poetry and stories and one children's book. Luci is the mother of five children.
Tate, James was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry, including "Shroud of the Gnome" (The Ecco Press, 1997); "Worshipful Company of Fletchers" (1994), which won the National Book Award; "Selected Poems" (1991), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award; "Distance from Loved Ones" (1990); Reckoner (1986); "Constant Defender" (1983); "Riven Doggeries" (1979); "Viper Jazz" (1976); "Absences" (1972); "Hints to Pilgrims" (1971); "The Oblivion Ha-Ha" (1970); and "The Lost Pilot" (1967), which was selected by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has also published a novel, "Lucky Darryl" (1977), and a collection of short stories, "Hottentot Ossuary" (1974), and edited "The Best American Poetry 1997". His honors include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and is currently a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.
From the American Academy of Poets web site
Teasdale, Sara (1884-1933), American poet. Known for the evocative intensity of her lyrics, she was for a time associated with the group that gathered around Harriet Monroe in Chicago. She received a special Pulitzer Prize for her "Love Songs" (1917). Other collections of her poetry include "Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems" (1907), "Helen of Troy and Other Poems" (1911), "Rivers to the Sea" (1915), "Flame and Shadow" (1920), "Dark of the Moon" (1926), and "Strange Victory" (1933). She also edited an anthology for young people, "Rainbow Gold" (1922). More and more withdrawn as the years went by, she died by suicide in 1933.
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord or Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809-1892), English poet, one of the great representatives of the Victorian age. Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire. By the time he was 15, Tennyson had produced several blank-verse plays and an epic. He published his first book on his own, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830), which includes "Mariana." In 1832 Tennyson published his second volume, Poems. In 1842 Tennyson won wide acclaim with the publication of his two-volume Poems. This collection, containing such works as "Morte d'Arthur," an idyll based on Arthurian legend; "Locksley Hall"; "Ulysses"; and the poignant lyric "Break, Break, Break," firmly established Tennyson's position as the foremost poet of his day. His first long poem after gaining literary recognition was The Princess (1847), a romantic treatment in musical blank verse of the question of women's rights. In 1850 one of his greatest poems appeared, In Memoriam, a tribute to the memory of his close friend Arthur Hallam. In 1850 Tennyson married Emily Sarah Sellwood. Enormously popular, he was appointed poet laureate of Great Britain the same year, succeeding William Wordsworth. He settled at Twickenham near London, where he resided for at least a part of each year for the remainder of his life. With the composition of Idylls of the King (begun in 1859 and completed in 1885) Tennyson returned to the subject of the Arthurian legend. He dealt with the ancient legends in an episodic rather than a continuous narrative structure, producing a loosely organized series of metrical romances. The poems are rich in medieval pageantry and vivid, noble characterization. During the last years of his life, Tennyson produced several other poems and historical dramas.
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Tessimond, Arthur Seymour John (1902-1962), was born in Birkenhead, England. He was an only child. He was educated at Charterhouse but ran away to London at the age of 16, only to return home two weeks later. He went to Liverpool University and then moved to London where he worked in bookshops and then as an advertising copywriter. He went into hiding during World War II, as he considered he would not be much good as a soldier. As it happened, he later discovered he was unfit to fight anyway. He was an eccentric with depressive tendencies whose inheritance went either on night-life or on psychoanalysts. He was given electric shock treatment and this may have contributed to the brain haemorrhage that later killed him. His work shows great clarity and often humour. He wrote about the ordinary and about city stereotypes. Some of his poems are conversation-poems and these often capture his tendency towards melancholy. Three volumes of his poems were published during his lifetime.
From the BBC web site.
Thomas, Dylan Marlais (1914-1953), Welsh poet, short-story writer, and playwright, renowned for his verbal imagery and for his celebration of natural beauty. Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales, and after finishing grammar school, he moved to London. His first book, Eighteen Poems (1934), revealed an unusual power in the use of poetic diction and imagery. Among Thomas's other works are Twenty-five Poems (1936), The Map of Love (1939), and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940). Deaths and Entrances (1946) and In Country Sleep (1951) are generally regarded as his finest books. Thomas became a radio commentator, and his radio play Under Milk Wood (1954) became his most famous piece, evoking the lives of the inhabitants of Llareggub, a small, Welsh seaside town. Thomas became famous in the United States for his public readings and lectures. His death in New York City was brought on by alcoholism.
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Thomas, R[onald] S[tuart] (1913-2000) was born in Wales in 1913, a year before his more famous namesake Dylan Thomas. He lived his life as a clergyman, often in the remote country parishes whose landscape and people he has celebrated in his poems. Thomas' poetry seems at first sight a grim and forbidding body of work to approach. His tone of voice is invariably severe, his rhythm slow and heavy and his subject matter Man scratching a pitiful livelihood from a bare and inhospitable land. Thomas' poetry is narrow in range, but it seems sure to last for its depth and its honesty.
(George Macbeth, "Poetry 1900-1975")
Thompson, Francis (b. Dec. 18, 1859, Preston, Lancashire, Eng.--d. Nov. 13, 1907, London), English poet of the Aesthetic movement of the 1890s, whose most famous poem, "The Hound of Heaven," describes the pursuit of the human soul by God.
Thompson was educated in the Roman Catholic faith at Ushaw College, a seminary in the north of England. He studied medicine at Manchester, but not conscientiously, and went to London to seek a livelihood. Poverty reduced him to selling matches and newspapers, and ill health drove him to opium. He wrote his first poems after finding light work with a shoemaker, and in 1888 the publication of two of his poems in Wilfrid Meynell's periodical, Merry England, aroused the admiration of Robert Browning. Meynell and his wife, Alice, befriended Thompson, induced him to enter a hospital, nursed him through convalescence, and in 1893 arranged publication of a collection, Poems, which was highly praised.
From 1893 to 1897 Thompson lived near a Franciscan priory in north Wales, during which period he wrote Sister Songs (1895) and New Poems (1897). He also wrote a number of prose works, mostly published posthumously, including the essay Shelley (1909). The Works of Francis Thompson, 3 vol. (1913), were published by Meynell. Thompson died of tuberculosis. © Encyclopædia Britannica
Trethewey, Natasha, was born in 1966 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her father was white, her mother black, and her racial identity is a theme in her poetry. Before Natasha started grade school, her parents divorced, and she moved to Decatur, Georgia, with her mother. As a youth, she spent her summers with her grandmother in Mississippi and in New Orleans with her father. Trethewey earned her Bachelor's degree at the University of Georgia in English and creative writing. She earned her Master's degree in English and creative writing at Hollins University, and later she received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. For "Storyville Diary" she won the Grolier Poetry Prize. In 1999, she was selected by Rita Dove to receive the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet for Domestic Work, which was published in the fall of 2000 by Graywolf Press. In 2001, she received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the Lillian Smith Award for poetry. Trethewey has received the Margaret Walker Award for poetry, the Jessica Nobel-Maxwell Memorial Award for poetry, the Julia Peterkin Award at Converse College, and the Distinguished Young Alumna Award at the University of Massachusetts. Trethewey's work has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. She has published three collections of poetry: "Domestic Work," "Bellocq's Ophelia," and in 2007 the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Native Guard." She is currently assistant professor of English, poetry, and creative writing at Emory University in Decatur, Georgia.
From Famous Poets and Poems.com.
Truth, Sojourner (1797-1883), was born into slavery in New York as Isabella Baumfree (after her father's owner). She was sold several times, and while owned by the John Dumont family in Ulster County, married Thomas, another of Dumont's slaves. She had five children with Thomas. In 1827, New York law emancipated all slaves, but Isabella had already left her husband and run away with her youngest child. She discovered that a member of the Dumont family had sold one of her children to slavery in Alabama. Since this son had been emancipated under New York Law, Isabella sued in court and won his return. Isabella experienced a religious conversion, moved to New York City, and lived for a while in a Methodist perfectionist commune. In 1843, she took the name Sojourner Truth, believing this to be on the instructions of the Holy Spirit and became a traveling preacher. In the late 1840s she connected with the abolitionist movement, becoming a popular speaker. In 1850, she also began speaking on woman suffrage. Her most famous speech, Ain't I a Woman?, was given in 1851 at a women's rights convention in Ohio. Sojourner Truth met Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote about her for the Atlantic Monthly and wrote a new introduction to Truth's autobiography, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth. During the Civil War Sojourner Truth raised food and clothing contributions for black regiments, and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in 1864. While there, she tried to challenge the discrimination that segregated street cars by race. After the War ended, Sojourner Truth again spoke widely, advocating for some time a "Negro State" in the west. She spoke mainly to white audiences, and mostly on religion, "Negro" and women's rights, and on temperance, though immediately after the Civil War she tried to organize efforts to provide jobs for black refugees from the war. Active until 1875, when her grandson and companion fell ill and died, Sojourner Truth returned to Michigan where her health deteriorated and she died in 1883. She was buried in Battle Creek, Michigan, after a very well-attended funeral.
From Famous Poets and Poems.com.
Twain, Mark, pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), American writer and humorist, whose best work is characterized by broad, often irreverent humor or biting social satire. Twain's writing is also known for realism of place and language, memorable characters, and hatred of hypocrisy and oppression. Clemens was born in Missouri, and grew up in the town of Hannibal, a port on the Mississippi River. In his teens he set type and contributed sketches to his brother Orion's Hannibal Journal. Later, Clemens was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River until the American Civil War. In 1862 he became a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada, and in 1863 he began signing his articles with the pseudonym Mark Twain, a Mississippi River phrase meaning "two fathoms deep." In 1865 Twain published the short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and within months the author and the story had become national sensations. Twain's best-known novels were written in the 1870s and 1880s. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) celebrates boyhood in a town on the Mississippi River; The Prince and the Pauper (1882), a children's book, focuses on switched identities in Tudor England; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), the sequel to Tom Sawyer, is the story of a boy who flees his father by rafting down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave; and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) satirizes oppression in feudal England. Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a novel set in the South before the Civil War, criticizes racism by focusing on mistaken racial identities. Twain's work was inspired by the unconventional West, and the popularity of his work marked the end of the domination of American literature by New England writers. He portrayed uniquely American subjects in a humorous and colloquial, yet poetic, language. His success in creating this plain but evocative language precipitated the end of American reverence for British and European culture and for the more formal language associated with those traditions. His adherence to American themes, settings, and language set him apart from many other novelists of the day and had a powerful effect on such later American writers as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Twain was equally a master of the short story and of the satiric essay of social critique. (G.B. Shaw said, "Twain and I are in very much the same position. We have to put things in such a way as to make people who would otherwise hang us, believe that we are joking.") His output of poetry was incidental, but the sample at this site (poetry originally masquerading as prose) is typical of his irreverent satire.
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Updike, John (b. 1932), American writer, known for his well-crafted prose in which he explores the often hidden tensions of middle-class American life. Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and educated at Harvard University and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford, England. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine from 1955 to 1957. Updike's first novel, "The Poorhouse Fair" (1959), received a great deal of critical praise. Among his best-known works are the four novels about the life and times of Updike's character Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom: "Rabbit, Run" (1960), "Rabbit Redux" (1971), "Rabbit Is Rich" (1981; Pulitzer Prize, 1982), and "Rabbit at Rest" (1990; Pulitzer Prize, 1991). Updike won the 1963 National Book Award for his novel "The Centaur". Updike's later works include "The Coup" (1979), "The Witches of Eastwick" (1984), "Brazil" (1994), and "In the Beauty of the Lilies" (1996). He died in Massachusetts in January, 2009.
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Walker, Alice (b. 1944), American writer, born in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth child of sharecroppers Willie Lee and Minnie Lou Grant Walker. When Alice was eight years old, she lost sight of one eye through a BB gun accident. In high school she was valedictorian of her class, and that achievement, coupled with a "rehabilitation scholarship" made it possible for her to go to Spelman, a college for black women in Atlanta, Georgia. After spending two years at Spelman, she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and during her junior year traveled to Africa as an exchange student. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1965. After finishing college, Walker lived in Mississippi, and was active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. Her books of poetry include "Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems, 1965-1990" (1991); "Horses Make the Landscape More Beautiful" (1984); "Goodnight, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning" (1979); "Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems" (1973); and "Once: Poems" (1968). Among her novels and short story collections are "The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart" (2000); "By the Light of My Father's Smile" (1998); "Possessing the Secret of Joy" (1992); "The Temple of My Familiar" (1989); "To Hell With Dying" (1988); "The Color Purple" (1982), which won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award; and "You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down" (1981). Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Walker has won numerous awards and honors including the Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters, and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute, a Merrill Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Mendocino, California.
Wallace, Ronald (b.19), was born on February 18, 1945, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Wallace is Felix Pollak Professor of Poetry and Halls-Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves as Co-Director of the Program in Creative Writing which he began in 1975, and as Editor of the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series (Pollak and Brittingham Prizes) which he founded in 1985. He served as Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing (post-MFA fellowships) from 1985-1998. Wallace received his BA degree from the College of Wooster in 1967 and his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1971. He began teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972, becoming a Full Professor in 1982. Wallace has taught a variety of courses including Poetry and Fiction Workshops and Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature. Wallace's research centers on contemporary American poetry and fiction and the humor found in both, with a special interest in recent poetry in traditional forms and the short-short story. Wallace has received numerous awards including: The Council for Wisconsin Writers Book Awards (1988, 1986, 1985, 1984), Helen Bullis Prize (1985), Wisconsin Library Association Notable Author (1994), Banta Award (1995), Hilldale Award (1998), Lynde and Harry Bradley Major (Lifetime) Achievement Award (1998), Mid-List Press "First Series Award: Short Fiction" (2000), Alliant Energy/Underkoffler Distinguished Teaching Award (2002), Posner Poetry Prize (2004), George Garrett Award (AWP, 2005).
From the University of Wisconsin web site.
Waller, Edmund (1606 – 1687). Born in Buckinghamshire as the eldest son of a wealthy landowner, Edmund Waller was educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge. He left Kings College without gaining a degree and instead went to Lincoln's Inn in order to study law. He was elected to parliament at the early age of sixteen, and wrote his first verse at the age of nineteen. In his political career he gained a reputation for brilliance as an orator. Although he was committed to remaining politically moderate in the troubled 1640's, by 1643 he had become a convinced Royalist and was involved in a plot to seize and secure London for Charles the first. The plot was uncovered and despite an eloquent appeal in his own defence, Waller was fined, imprisoned and finally exiled from Britain. He was eventually allowed back into the country in 1652 and returned to parliament. Much of Waller's verse consisted of praise for 'Sacharissa', a name he used for Lady Dorothy Sidney whom he courted unsuccessfully in the 1630's; the most well known of these writings today are On a Girdle and Go Lovely Rose. Waller's writing was praised by Dryden for its "sweetness," and his style is marked by its smoothness and order. Despite enjoying great fame and esteem in his lifetime, Waller's reputation declined with criticisms of blandness. His work did influence the literature of the Eighteenth Century, with his most remembered achievement being the perfection of the 'heroic couplet'.
Watson, William (1858 – 1935), was an English poet, popular in his time for the political content of his verse. He was born in Burley, in West Yorkshire. He was very much on the traditionalist wing of English poetry. He was a prolific poet of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book, without 'decadent' associations. He was also a defender of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, as he dropped out of fashion. On Tennyson's death, Watson was a strong candidate for Poet Laureate but his earlier opposition to the Boer War had made him politically unsuitable and he was passed over for Alfred Austin. In 188o he published his first book The Prince's Quest, a poem showing the influence of Keats and Tennyson, but giving little indication of the author's mature style. It attracted no attention until it was republished in 1893, after Mr.Watson had made a name by other work. In 1884 appeared Epigrams of Art, Life, and Nature, a remarkable little volume which already showed the change to Mr.Watson's characteristic restraint and concision of manner. Recognition came with the publication of Wordsworth's Grave, and fame with the publication of the second edition in 1891. In 1898 were published his Collected Poems and a volume of new poetry. His poetry is contemplative, not dramatic, and only occasionally lyrical in impulse. Except in his political verse there is more thought than passion. Bearing trace enough of the influence of the romantic epoch, his poetry recalls the earlier classical period in its epigrammatic phrasing and Latinized diction . By the distinction and clarity of his style and the dignity of his movement, William Watson stands in the true classical tradition of great English verse, in a generation rather given over to lawlessness and experiment.
From Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1911.
Whitman, Walt (1819-1892), American poet, whose work boldly asserts the worth of the individual and the oneness of all humanity. Whitman's defiant break with traditional poetic concerns and style exerted a major influence on American thought and literature.
Whitman was born near Huntington, New York. After moving to New York City he wrote poems and stories for popular magazines and made political speeches, for which Tammany Hall Democrats rewarded him with the editorship of various short-lived newspapers. For two years Whitman edited the influential Brooklyn Eagle, but he lost his position for supporting the Free-Soil Party.
In 1855 Whitman issued the first of many editions of Leaves of Grass, a volume of poetry in a new kind of versification. Because he immodestly praised the human body and glorified the senses, Whitman was forced to publish the book at his own expense. In a long preface he announced a new democratic literature, "commensurate with a people," simple and unconquerable. The 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass contained 12 untitled poems, including one later entitled "Song of Myself."
Stimulated by a letter of congratulations from American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, Whitman hastily put together another edition of Leaves of Grass (1856), with revisions and additions; he would continue to revise the collection throughout his life. The most significant 1856 poem is "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." In the third edition (1860), Whitman began to use more allegory in his poetry.
Whitman's deepening awareness of the significance of the American Civil War (1861-1865) is reflected in Drum-Taps (1865, later added to the 1867 edition of Leaves). Sequel to Drum-Taps (1866) contains "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln, and "O Captain! My Captain!" Whitman also wrote some prose of lasting value, including the essays Democratic Vistas (1871) and Specimen Days &Collect (1882-1883).
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Whittier, John Greenleaf (1807-1892), an American poet and editor, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The son of two devout Quakers, he grew up on the family farm and had little formal schooling. His first published poem, "The Exile's Departure," was published in William Lloyd Garrison's Newburyport Free Press in 1826. He then attended Haverhill Academy from 1827 to 1828, supporting himself as a shoemaker and schoolteacher. By the time he was twenty, he had published enough verse to bring him to the attention of editors and readers in the antislavery cause. A Quaker devoted to social causes and reform, Whittier worked passionately for a series of abolitionist newspapers and magazines. In Boston, he edited American Manufacturer and Essex Gazette before becoming editor of the important New England Weekly Review. Whittier was active in his support of National Republican candidates; he was a delegate in 1831 to the national Republican Convention in support of Henry Clay, and he himself ran unsuccessfully for Congress the following year. His first book, Legends of New England in Prose and Verse, was published in 1831; from then until the Civil War, he wrote essays and articles as well as poems, almost all of which were concerned with abolition. In 1833 he wrote Justice and Expedience urging immediate abolition. In 1834 he was elected as a Whig for one term to the Massachusetts legislature; mobbed and stoned in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1835. He moved in 1836 to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where he worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society. During his tenure as editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman, in May 1838, the paper's offices burned to the ground and were sacked during the destruction of Pennsylvania Hall by a mob. Whittier founded the antislavery Liberty party in 1840 and ran for Congress in 1842. In the mid-1850s he began to work for the formation of the Republican party; he supported presidential candidacy of John C. Frémont in 1856. He helped to found Atlantic Monthly in 1857. Although Whittier was close friends with Elizabeth Lloyd Howell and considered marrying her, in 1859 he decided against it. While Whittier's critics never considered him to be a great poet, they thought him a nobel and kind man whose verse gave unique expression to ideas they valued. The Civil War inspired the famous poem, "Barbara Frietchie," but the important change in his work came after the war. From 1865 until his death in 1892, Whittier wrote of religion, nature, and rural life; he became the most popular Fireside poets. In 1866 he published his most popular work, Snow-Bound, which sold 20,000 copies. In the early 1880s, he formed close friendships with Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields. For his seventieth birthday dinner in 1877, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and William Dean Howells attended. He died at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, on September 7, 1892.
Wilcox, Emma Wheeler (1850-1919) was born on a farm in Johnstown, Wisconsin, east of Janesville, the youngest of four children. The family soon moved north of Madison. She started writing poetry at a very early age, and was well known as a poet in her own state by the time she graduated from high school. When about 28 years of age, she married Robert Wilcox. They had one child, a son, who died shortly after birth. Not long after their marriage, they both became interested in theosophy, "new thought," and spiritualism. Early in their married life, they promised each other that whoever went first through death would return and communicate with the other. Robert Wilcox died in 1916, after over thirty years of marriage. She was overcome with grief, which became ever more intense as week after week went without any message from him. It was at this time that she went to California to see the Rosicrucian astrologer, Max Heindel, still seeking help in her sorrow, still unable to understand why she had no word from her Robert. She was told that God would not permit communication with Robert until after her sorrow had quieted. Wilcox made efforts to teach occult things to the world. Her works, filled with positivism, were popular in the New Thought Movement and by 1915 her booklet, What I Know About New Thought had a distribution of 50,000 copies. A popular poet rather than a literary poet, in her poems she expresses sentiments of cheer and optimism in plainly written, rhyming verse. Wilcox wrote hundreds of poems, most of which were (and are) panned by critics as predictable sentimental sop. She is frequently cited in anthologies of bad poetry, such as The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse. Yet some of her poems were clearly inspired and skillful, and she deserves to be remembered for her best work. Ella Wheeler Wilcox died of cancer on October 30, 1919.
Wilde, Oscar (1854-1900), Irish-born novelist, playwright, poet, and critic, who was the chief proponent of the aesthetic movement, based on the principle of art for art's sake. Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin. Wilde's first book was Poems (1881). His first play, Vera, or the Nihilists (1882), was produced in New York City. Upon returning to England he settled in London and married in 1884 a wealthy Irish woman, with whom he had two sons. In 1895, at the peak of his career, Wilde became the central figure in one of the most sensational court trials of the century. Wilde, who had been a close friend of the young Lord Alfred Douglas, was convicted of sodomy. Sentenced in 1895 to two years of hard labor in prison, he emerged financially bankrupt and spiritually downcast. He spent the rest of his life in Paris, using the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. Wilde's early works included two collections of fairy stories, The Happy Prince (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1892), and a group of short stories, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime (1891). His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), is a melodramatic tale of moral decadence. Wilde's most distinctive and engaging plays are the four comedies Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), all characterized by adroitly contrived plots and remarkably witty dialogue. While in prison Wilde composed From the Depths (1905), an apology for his life. The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), written just after his release and published anonymously in England, is the most powerful of all his poems.
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Williams, William Carlos (1883-1963), American poet, novelist, and physician. Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, and attended the universities of Pennsylvania and Leipzig. He practiced medicine in Rutherford and neighboring Paterson while earning a worldwide reputation as a writer. Williams's work relies on emotional restraint, the language of common speech, and a concentration on sensory experience. His early verse includes Poems (1909) and The Tempers (1913). His other work includes Complete Collected Poems (1938), Collected Poems (1950), and Paterson, Books I-V (1946-1958). His prose works include a collection of essays on American history, In the American Grain (1925), and a number of novels. In 1950 Williams received the National Book Award for poetry, and in 1963 he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962).
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Wordsworth, William (1770-1850), English poet, one of the most accomplished and influential of England's romantic poets.
Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, and educated at Saint John's College, University of Cambridge. In 1791 he traveled to France, where he became an enthusiastic convert to the ideals of the French Revolution (1789-1799). Wordsworth's first published poems appeared in 1793 but received little notice. In 1797 Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy Wordsworth moved to Somersetshire, near the home of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The two men collaborated on a book of poems entitled Lyrical Ballads (1798). This work is generally considered the beginning of the romantic movement in English poetry. Lyrical Ballads represented a revolt against the artificial classicism of contemporary English verse. It was greeted with hostility by most critics of the day. Wordsworth wrote a defense of his poetry for the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, which appeared in 1800. He rejected the contemporary emphasis on the intellectual approach to poetry, maintaining that the scenes and events of everyday life and the speech of ordinary people were the raw material of which poetry could and should be made.
In 1798 and 1799 Wordsworth and his sister accompanied Coleridge to Germany, where Wordsworth wrote several of his finest lyrical verses, the "Lucy" poems, and began The Prelude. This introspective account of his own development was completed in 1805 and, after substantial revision, published posthumously in 1850. Many critics consider it Wordsworth's greatest work. The Wordsworths settled in 1799 at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, Westmorland, in the Lake District. Coleridge and the poet Robert Southey lived nearby, and the three men became known as the Lake Poets. In 1802 Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson, a childhood friend. In 1807 Poems in Two Volumes, which contains some of Wordsworth's finest verse, was published.
By 1810 Wordsworth's viewpoint was staunchly conservative. Between 1814 and 1822 he published numerous works, including The Excursion (1814), The White Doe of Rylstone (1815), and Ecclesiastical Sonnets (1822). As he advanced in age, his poetic vision dulled, and his output declined. In 1842 he was awarded a government pension, and in the following year he succeeded Southey as poet laureate.
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Wylie, Elinor (1885-1928), American poet, was born Elinor Hoyt in New Jersey. The unfashionable location of her birth was an embarrassment to her, and she emphasized her Philadelphia family roots. Her father began poor, but ended up Solicitor General of the United States, appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt. When Elinor was 12, the Hoyts moved to Washington, D.C. She attended private secondary schools in Washington, graduating in 1904. This ended her formal education. In December 1906 she married Harvard graduate Philip Hichborn. She seems to have tried hard to be a conventional wife, but Hichborn was depressive, an emotional abuser, and perhaps even mad. Elinor's mother refused to hear of Elinor leaving or divorcing him. Elinor finally broke down after several years of pent-up misery added to grief over her father's sudden death and the jolting discovery that Mr. Hoyt had had a mistress for many years. In 1910, when her son was three, Elinor abandoned child and husband and ran off with Horace Wylie, a Washington lawyer 17 years older than Elinor, with a wife and three children. Her husband died shortly thereafter, Wylie's divorce was arranged, and they were married. They lived in England until World War I broke out. It took all their funds to move to Maine, where they rented an apartment and found themselves still stigmatized. They finally returned to Washington and got clerical jobs to survive. By then Elinor was disillusioned with Wylie. She had met William Rose Benet, Stephen Vincent Benet's brother, who offered her the first real hope of becoming a professional author. In 1920-21 Benet, a widower whose three children were being raised by his mother and sister, helped Elinor get established in New York City. Her first book of poems, "Nets to Catch the Wind," was published in 1921 to some acclaim. In 1922 she became literary editor of Vanity Fair magazine. In 1923 Elinor divorced Wylie, published a second book of poetry, "Black Amour" (she continued writing under the Wylie name), saw her novel "Jennifer Lorn" released, and married Benet. They moved his children in with them, but Elinor made an inadequate stepmother. Eventually Benet's sister assumed permanent custody over them. Elinor quickly became a New York icon. Her talent and willowy, fragile beauty wooed many 20s literati. In 1928 Elinor returned to England alone. There she fell in love again, again with a married man. But this time it was apparently unrequited. She published another volume of poetry, "Trivial Breath." In England she suffered a fall that aggravated the pain she already suffered from Bright's Disease. She sailed back to New York to spend Christmas with her husband. On December 16, 1928, she died quietly at home of a stroke. A last book of poems, "Angels and Earthly Creatures," was published posthumously in 1929.
Yeats, William Butler (1865-1939), Irish poet and dramatist, and Nobel laureate, who was a leader of the Irish Renaissance and one of the foremost writers of the 20th century.
Yeats was born in Dublin, the son of the noted Irish painter John Butler Yeats. Yeats wrote lyrical, symbolic poems on pagan Irish themes, such as The Wanderings of Oisin (1889) and The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1893), in the romantic melancholy tone he believed characteristic of the ancient Celts. Yeats loved Irish patriot Maud Gonne unrequitedly the rest of his life. She inspired much of his early work and drew him into the Irish nationalist movement for independence.
Yeats became a close friend of nationalist playwright Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory with whom he helped found what became in 1904 the famous Abbey Theatre. As its director and dramatist, he helped develop the theater into one of the leading theatrical companies of the world, and a center of the Irish literary revival called the Irish Renaissance. In his poetry of this period, such as The Wing Among the Reeds (1899), The Shadowy Waters (1900), and The Green Helmet (1910), Yeats's work became clearer and leaner.
Yeats's later writings are generally acknowledged to be his best. A Vision (1925) discusses the eternal opposites of objectivity and subjectivity, art and life, soul and body that are the basis of his philosophy. Other poetic works in this vein are The Wild Swans at Coole (1917), The Tower (1928), and The Winding Stair (1933).
Yeats also wrote short plays on the Celtic legendary hero Cuchulain, combined as Four Plays for Dancers (1921). In these plays Yeats brought poetry back to theater and fused strict realism with mythic vision to create poetic dramas spare and pregnant with mysterious meaning. He received the Nobel Prize in 1923.
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