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C. K. Williams

B. 1939 D. 2015

3 poems available

C. K. Williams (b. 1939) was particularly well-known for his formal innovations, the long-lined poems of clause-rich syntax which became his trademark. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Williams described how he came comparatively late to the writing of poetry, though…


5 poems available

Heather McHugh (b. 1948) was brought up in rural Virginia. She credits her early overwhelming shyness with inspiring, somewhat paradoxically, an intense pleasure in language: her reluctance to speak herself matched by her passionate attention to “every twist of tone…


4 poems available

Robert Pinsky (b. 1940) is a pre-eminent poet and critic, a dual role that has led to comparisons with figures from the past such as Matthew Arnold and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His beginnings were modest – he was born in…


Kay Ryan

B. 1945

12 poems available

Kay Ryan has been compared to Emily Dickinson and Marianne Moore, sharing a delight in the quirks of logic and language. Because she keeps a low profile, she has been called an ‘outsider’ poet, a term she dismisses. “I think…


6 poems available

Jean Valentine was born in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois and has lived most of her life in New York City. In 1964, her first collection Dream Barker was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her recent collections include…


Sylvia Plath

B. 1932 D. 1963

2 poems available

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) is a poet whose troubled life and powerful work remains a source of controversy. Born in Boston in the USA she was precociously intelligent, publishing her first poem at the age of eight. The same year her…


John Berryman

B. 1914 D. 1972

2 poems available

John Berryman (1914-1972) was born John Smith Jnr. in rural Oklahoma, the product of an unhappy marriage between a small-town banker and schoolteacher. When he was eight, Berryman suffered the defining trauma of his life when his father killed himself…


E E Cummings

B. 1894 D. 1962

1 poem available

E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) was born and brought up in Cambridge Massachusetts, and is remembered above all for his startling innovations in syntax and typography. His early experiments in poetry whilst still a child were encouraged by liberal parents to…


Robert Lowell

B. 1917 D. 1977

2 poems available

Robert Lowell (1917-1977) packed a huge amount into his sixty years: a rollercoaster of triumphs and disasters that informed his writing and pushed back the boundaries of what was deemed suitable subject matter for poetry. He was born into an…


Ogden Nash

B. 1902 D. 1971

2 poems available

Ogden Nash ( 1902-1971) was a master, perhaps the 20th Century master, of light verse whose continuing popularity shows that the term ‘light’ is not incompatible with long-lasting. He was born in Rye, New York, but as a child moved…


Ezra Pound

B. 1885 D. 1972

2 poems available

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) is now recognised as the central figure of Anglo/American modernism, the man who did most to shape the movement which in turn did most to shape the 20th Century cultural landscape in the west. Born in Idaho…


Theodore Roethke

B. 1908 D. 1963

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) was an innovator, both in subject matter and form, writing in the transcendental tradition of Emerson and Thoreau but making it his own. The key to his powerful identification with nature can be found in his childhood….