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Auslander, Joseph (11 October 1897–22 June 1965), poet, editor, and translator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Auslander and Martha Asyueck. He attended Columbia University from 1914 to 1915, then transferred to Harvard, receiving his B.A. in 1917. In 1919 he became an instructor in English at Harvard. He pursued graduate studies there until 1924, with the interruption of one year (1921–1922) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he went on a Parker Traveling Fellowship. His poetry began to appear in national magazines in 1919, and his first volume, ...

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Blackburn, Paul (24 November 1926–13 September 1971), poet and translator, was born in Saint Albans, Vermont, the son of William Blackburn and Frances Frost, a poet and novelist. Blackburn’s parents separated in 1930. His father left for California; his mother pursued a literary career, eventually settling in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Blackburn was left in the care of his strict maternal grandparents. His grandmother required little pretext for whipping him regularly, and his grandfather, who worked for the railroad, was away from home for long stretches at a time. In late poems such as “My Sainted,” he reveals his bitterness about his early childhood....

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Ciardi, John (24 June 1916–30 March 1986), poet-translator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Carminantonio Ciardi, an insurance premium collector, and Concetta Di Benedictis. Ciardi was delivered by a midwife at his parents’ home in Boston’s Little Italy. Three years later his father died in an automobile accident, and his mother moved her family seven miles away to Medford, where the poet grew up across the street from the Mystic River. After high school, he went to Bates College in Maine for a year and a half before transferring to Tufts College in Medford for financial reasons. He majored in English and learned poetry from John Holmes, himself an accomplished poet-teacher, who became a surrogate father for Ciardi. He graduated with honors in 1938 and went to the University of Michigan to study poetry with Roy Cowden. There he won the Avery Hopwood Poetry Award in 1939, the same year he received an M.A. in English....

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Dabney, Richard (1787– November 1825), poet, critic, and translator, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Dabney, a planter of modest means, and Jane Meriwether, aunt of the explorer Meriwether Lewis. Richard did not attend college, but at sixteen he took eagerly to languages at a Latin and Greek school and before he was twenty was invited to become an assistant Latin and Greek teacher at a Richmond academy. It is not known where Dabney learned Italian and French. His precocious assimilation of literature in four languages is remarkable in light of his scant formal education....

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Deutsch, Babette (22 September 1895–13 November 1982), writer, editor, and translator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Michael Deutsch and Melanie Fisher. She grew up in New York, was a student at the Ethical Culture school, and attended Barnard College, graduating in 1917. She worked briefly for ...

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Fenollosa, Ernest Francisco (18 February 1853–21 September 1908), educator, poet, and Orientalist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Manuel Francisco Ciriaco Fenollosa, a Spanish musician who had come to the United States in 1838, and Mary Silsbee, who died when Ernest was eleven. After attending Salem High School, the sensitive and reserved young man entered Harvard College, where he studied with ...

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Fitts, Dudley (28 April 1903–10 July 1968), translator and poet, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Dudley Thomas Fitts, a bookkeeper, and Edith Kimball Eaton. He attended Harvard University, where he edited the Harvard Advocate; he graduated in 1925. His first serious poems appeared in 1930 in ...

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Humphries, Rolfe (20 November 1894–22 April 1969), poet and translator, was born George Rolfe Humphries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Henry Humphries, a professional baseball player turned high school principal, and Florence Yost, an English teacher. Humphries was educated at home and in the public schools of Towanda, Pennsylvania. By the time he entered Amherst College in 1911, he knew Latin, Greek, German, and French and had read widely in English literature. He graduated a year early from Amherst, in 1914 (retaining his class of 1915 identity) and took a position teaching Latin and coaching football and baseball at the Potter School in San Francisco. Soon he purchased land on Lake Tahoe and opened a summer camp, which he ran until the depression. Humphries was drafted into the army in September 1917 but did not see service overseas. Discharged with the rank of first lieutenant in December 1918, he returned to the Potter School, joined a poetry workshop taught by ...

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Lattimore, Richmond Alexander (06 May 1906–26 February 1984), classicist, translator, and poet, was born in Paotingfu, China, the son of David Lattimore and Margaret Barnes, teachers. In 1920 Lattimore came to the United States with his parents from China, where his parents had gone to teach. After attending high school, he received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1926 and his M.A. from the University of Illinois in 1927, becoming an assistant professor at Wabash College. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford in 1929, where he earned a First in Greats in 1932, then returned to Illinois and received his Ph.D. in 1935. In 1934 he was made a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, where he met Alice Bockstahler, whom he married the following year. They had two children. Lattimore became an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College where he remained until his retirement, except for military service in World War II (1943–1946) and various visiting fellowships and professorships. He was a Fulbright scholar in Greece in 1951–1952, an award that was won despite the fact that at this time his older brother, ...

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Marianne Moore Photograph by George Platt Lynes, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101955).

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Elaine Oswald and Robert L. Gale

Moore, Marianne (15 November 1887–05 February 1972), poet, critic, and translator, was born Marianne Craig Moore in Kirkland, Missouri, the daughter of John Milton Moore, a construction engineer and inventor, and Mary Warner. Moore had an older brother, John Warner Moore. She never met her father; before her birth his invention of a smokeless furnace failed, and he had a nervous and mental breakdown and was hospitalized in Massachusetts. Moore’s mother became a housekeeper for John Riddle Warner, her father, an affectionate, well-read Presbyterian pastor in Kirkwood, until his death in 1894. Moore’s mother, always overly protective, moved with her children briefly to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Moore attended the Metzger Institute (now part of Dickinson College) through high school. In 1905 she entered Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; published nine poems, including “A Jelly-Fish,” in its literary magazines ...

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Parsons, Thomas William (18 August 1819–03 September 1892), poet and translator of Dante, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas William Parsons, a physician and dentist, and Aseneth Read. The elder Parsons had earned his M.D. at Harvard, and the family thrived in upper-class Boston society. Young Parsons attended the Boston Public Latin School for six years but received no diploma there. He made his first trip abroad to Europe in 1836, where in Italy he began his lifelong obsession with the poetry of Dante. Friends claim that Parsons began to memorize the entire ...

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Percival, James Gates (15 September 1795–02 May 1856), poet, linguist, and geologist, was born in Kensington, Connecticut, the son of James Percival, a doctor, and Elizabeth Hart. Percival read widely as a child, a habit he sustained as an adult, and enjoyed from an early age almost total recall. His father, a well-respected and prosperous village physician, died of typhoid in 1807 when Percival was twelve years old, and Percival’s mother sent him away to a boarding school. He began to write poetry during this period, his most impressive effort being “The Commerciad,” a mock-heroic poem of more than 2,000 lines. In 1810 he entered Yale College, studied the natural sciences with ...

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Pool, Rosey E. (7 May 1905–29 Sep. 1971), poet, anthologist, and translator, was born Rosa Eva Pool in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest of two children of cigar dealer Louis Pool and domestic worker Jacoba Jessurun, both of Jewish descent. Pool started studying Germanic Languages at the University of Amsterdam in ...

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Rexroth, Kenneth (22 December 1905–06 June 1982), poet and translator, was born Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth in South Bend, Indiana, the son of Charles Rexroth, a pharmaceuticals salesman, and Delia Reed. Owing to Charles’s rocky career, the family moved frequently throughout the northern midwest until Delia died in 1916 and Charles in 1919. For the next three years, Rexroth lived with an aunt in Chicago. After his expulsion from high school, he educated himself in literary salons, nightclubs, lecture halls, and hobo camps while working as a wrestler, soda jerk, clerk, and reporter. In 1923–1924 he served a prison term for partial ownership of a brothel....

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Sandys, George (02 March 1578–04 March 1644), writer and official of colonial Virginia, was born at Bishopthorp near York, England, the son of Edwin Sandys, the archbishop of York, and his second wife, Cicely Wil(s)ford. Sandys entered Oxford University as a gentleman-commoner at the age of eleven in 1589, then at eighteen went to the Middle Temple, London. He remained at the Inns of Court only a year or two. Before the age of twenty-one, he married Elizabeth Norton of Ripon. The exact date of the family-arranged marriage is unknown, but it had ended, although it was never formally dissolved, by 1606. The couple had no children....

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Bayard Taylor. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92338).

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Taylor, Bayard (11 January 1825–19 December 1878), writer, was born in Kennett Square, Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Taylor and Rebecca Way, farmers. He was raised in an orderly Quaker household of quiet discipline, but, being a prodigious reader and student, he felt constrained by the provincial farming life of Chester County. His studies of languages and literature at Bolmar’s and Unionville academies only intensified his restlessness, and while still a high-school student Taylor published his first poem in 1841 with the ...

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Untermeyer, Jean Starr (13 May 1886–27 July 1970), poet and translator, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of Abram E. Starr, department store owner, and Johanna Shonfield. A passionate and artistic child, Untermeyer explored her musical talents early by playing the piano....