W. D. Snodgrass
|Born||William De Witt Snodgrass|
5 January 1926
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||13 January 2009 83) (aged|
Erieville, New York, United States
|Education|| Geneva College |
University of Iowa (1949, BA)(1951, MA)(1953, MFA)
|Literary movement||Confessional poetry|
|Notable works||Heart's Needle|
|Notable awards||Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1960)|
William De Witt Snodgrass (January 5, 1926 – January 13, 2009) was an American poet who also wrote under the pseudonym S. S. Gardons. He won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
W. D. Snodgrass was born on January 5, 1926, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, to Bruce De Witt, an accountant, and Jesse Helen (Murchie) Snodgrass. The family lived in Wilkinsburg, but drove to Beaver Falls for his birth since his grandfather was a doctor in the town. Eventually the family moved to Beaver Falls and Snodgrass graduated from the local high school in 1943. He then attended Geneva College until 1944 when he was drafted into the United States Navy. After demobilization in 1946, Snodgrass transferred to the University of Iowa and enrolled in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, originally intending to become a playwright but eventually joining the poetry workshopwhich was attracting as teachers some of the finest poetic talents of the day, among them John Berryman, Randall Jarrell and Robert Lowell. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949, a Master of Arts degree in 1951, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1953.
Snodgrass was known to friends throughout his life as "De", pronounced "dee", –1977), Old Dominion (1978-9), and the University of Delaware. He retired from teaching in 1994 to devote himself full-time to his writing. This included autobiographical sketches, essays, and the critical verse "deconstructions" of De/Construct. He died in his home in Madison County, New York, aged 83, following a four-month battle with lung cancer, and was survived by his fourth wife, writer Kathleen Snodgrass.but only published using his initials. He had a long and distinguished academic career, having taught at Cornell (1955-7), Rochester (1957-8), Wayne State (1959–68), Syracuse (1968
Snodgrass had married his first wife, Lila Jean Hank, in 1946, by whom he had a daughter, Cynthia Jean. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1953 and it was the separation from his daughter as a result that became the subject of his first collection, Heart's Needle. The following year Snodgrass married his second wife, Janice Marie Ferguson Wilson. Together they have a son, Russell Bruce, and a stepdaughter, Kathy Ann Wilson. Divorcing again in 1966, he married his third wife, Camille Rykowski in 1967 but this ended in 1978. His fourth marriage to Kathleen Ann Brown was in 1985.
Snodgrass's first poems appeared in 1951, and throughout the 1950s he published in some of the most prestigious magazines: Botteghe Oscure , Partisan Review , The New Yorker , The Paris Review and The Hudson Review . However, in 1957, five sections from a sequence entitled "Heart's Needle" were included in Hall, Pack and Simpson's anthology, New Poets of England and America, and these were to mark a turning-point. When Lowell had been shown early versions of these poems, in 1953, he had disliked them, but now he was full of admiration.
By the time Heart's Needle was published, in 1959, Snodgrass had already won The Hudson Review Fellowship in Poetry and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Poetry Prize. However, his first book brought him more: a citation from the Poetry Society of America, a grant from the National Institute of Arts, and, most important of all, 1960's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. It is often said that Heart's Needle inaugurated confessional poetry. Snodgrass disliked the term. The genre he was reviving here seemed revolutionary to most of his contemporaries, reared as they had been on the anti-expressionistic principles of the New Critics. Snodgrass's confessional work was to have a profound effect on many of his contemporaries, amongst them, most importantly, Robert Lowell.
Being tagged with this label affected his work and its reception and forced him into small-press publication for many years. Two new themes (eventually) restored his reputation, although at the time they first began to appear there was a perception by some that Snodgrass had "wrecked his career".One was The Führer Bunker cycle of poems, monologues by Adolf Hitler and his circle in the closing days of the Third Reich, a "poem in progress" that began to appear from 1977 onwards and was finally completed in 1995. An adaptation of these for the stage was performed in the 1980s. The other theme was the series written in response to DeLoss McGraw's surrealistic paintings, which eventually grew into a partnership. In these poems, often uproariously rhymed, Snodgrass stood his former confessional style on its head at the same time as satirizing contemporary attitudes.
The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1922 for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, published during the preceding calendar year.
Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer. She was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956, the National Book Award winner in 1970, and the recipient of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1976. Dwight Garner argued that she was perhaps “the most purely gifted poet of the 20th century.”
Anne Sexton was an American poet known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book Live or Die. Her poetry details her long battle with depression, suicidal tendencies, and intimate details from her private life, including relationships with her husband and children, whom it was later revealed she physically and sexually assaulted.
Amy Lawrence Lowell was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts. She posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.
Robert Traill Spence Lowell IV was an American poet. He was born into a Boston Brahmin family that could trace its origins back to the Mayflower. His family, past and present, were important subjects in his poetry. Growing up in Boston also informed his poems, which were frequently set in Boston and the New England region. The literary scholar Paula Hayes believes that Lowell mythologized New England, particularly in his early work.
Confessional poetry or "Confessionalism" is a style of poetry that emerged in the United States during the 1950s. It is sometimes also classified as a form of Postmodernism. It has been described as poetry of the personal or "I", focusing on extreme moments of individual experience, the psyche, and personal trauma, including previously and occasionally still taboo matters such as mental illness, sexuality, and suicide, often set in relation to broader social themes.
The Program in Creative Writing, more commonly known as the Iowa Writers' Workshop, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, is a celebrated graduate-level creative writing program in the United States. Writer Lan Samantha Chang is its director. Graduates earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing. It has been cited as the best graduate writing program in the nation, counting among its alumni 17 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Louise Elisabeth Glück is an American poet and essayist. One of the most prominent American poets of her generation, she has won many major literary awards in the United States, including the National Humanities Medal, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Bollingen Prize, among others. From 2003 to 2004, she was Poet Laureate of the United States. Glück is often described as an autobiographical poet; her work is known for its emotional intensity and for frequently drawing on myth, history, or nature to meditate on personal experiences and modern life.
Randall Jarrelljə-REL was an American poet, literary critic, children's author, essayist, and novelist. He was the 11th Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—a position that now bears the title Poet Laureate of the United States.
William Stanley Merwin was an American poet who wrote more than fifty books of poetry and prose, and produced many works in translation. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin's unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, his writing influence derived from an interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in a rural part of Maui, Hawaii, he wrote prolifically and was dedicated to the restoration of the island's rainforests.
Horace Gregory was a prize-winning American poet, translator of classic poetry, literary critic and college professor. He was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1965.
Richard Ghormley Eberhart was an American poet who published more than a dozen books of poetry and approximately twenty works in total. "Richard Eberhart emerged out of the 1930s as a modern stylist with romantic sensibilities." He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Selected Poems, 1930–1965 and the 1977 National Book Award for Poetry for Collected Poems, 1930–1976. He was the grandfather of former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
Charles Simic is a Serbian American poet and former co-poetry editor of the Paris Review. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for The World Doesn't End, and was a finalist of the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Selected Poems, 1963-1983 and in 1987 for Unending Blues. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007.
Frank Bidart is an American academic and poet, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
John Allyn McAlpin Berryman was an American poet and scholar, born in McAlester, Oklahoma. He was a major figure in American poetry in the second half of the 20th century and is considered a key figure in the Confessional school of poetry. His best-known work is The Dream Songs.
Helen Hennessy Vendler is an American literary critic and is Porter University Professor Emerita at Harvard University.
J. D. "Sandy" McClatchy was an American poet, opera librettist and literary critic. He was editor of the Yale Review and president of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Life Studies is the fourth book of poems by Robert Lowell. Most critics consider it one of Lowell's most important books, and the Academy of American Poets named it one of their Groundbreaking Books. Helen Vendler called Life Studies Lowell's "most original book." It won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1960.
'Home After Three Months Away' is one of several "confessional" poems by Robert Lowell which appeared in his book Life Studies.