Tom Boggs (poet)

Last updated
Thomas Kavanaugh Boggs
DiedNovember 17, 1952
  • Poet
  • editor
  • novelist
Parent(s)Joseph Crosher Boggs and Alberta Marie (Bonney) Boggs

Tom Boggs (1905 November 17, 1952) was an American poet, editor, and novelist who emerged as a Greenwich Village Bohemian during the Jazz Age of the 1920s.



He was born Thomas Kavanaugh Boggs in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, the son of prominent Pittsburgh doctor, Joseph Crosher Boggs (born 1867), and Alberta Marie (born 1867). He attended Allegheny High School.

Boggs and fellow student Robert Clairmont met in Pittsburgh and became literary friends. Clairmont, a poet who inherited $350,000 under strange circumstances in 1925, left for New York, where he became an extravagant character in the Greenwich Village Bohemian scene and invited Boggs to join him. Boggs recorded many of their wild escapades in a novelized biography called Millionaire Playboy. He also started a short-lived literary journal, bankrolled by Clairmont and launched on April Fools' Day 1927, called New Cow of Greenwich Village (A Monthly Periodical Sold on the Seven Arts as Such).

He began publishing his earliest verse in high school and continued in New York. He was also an editor of many emerging poets in the American literary scene, including Elizabeth Bishop, R.P. Blackmur, John Ciardi, Malcolm Cowley, E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Fearing, Langston Hughes, Robinson Jeffers, Weldon Kees, Muriel Rukeyser, Mark Van Doren, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.

Boggs died in 1952 of a heart attack at the National Arts Club while speaking to Percy MacKaye, for whom he was working at the time as a personal secretary. He is buried in Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

Selected works

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