Before the Door of God

Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry

Jay Hopler
Kimberly Johnson
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vm3mm
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  • Book Info
    Before the Door of God
    Book Description:

    Before the Door of Godtraces the development of devotional English-language poetry from its origins in ancient hymnody to its current twenty-first-century incarnations. The poems in this volume demonstrate not only that devotional poetry-poetry that speaks to the divine-remains in vigorous practice, but also that the tradition reaches back to the very origins of poetry in English. There is a sense in these pages that the tradition of lyric poetry that developed was nearly inevitable, given the inherent concerns of the genre.

    Featuring the work of poets over a three-thousand-year period,Before the Door of Godplaces the devotional lyric in its cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts. The volume traces the various influences on this tradition and identifies features that persist in devotional lyric poetry across centuries, cultures, and stylistic differences. To scholars, literary professionals, and general readers who find delight in fine poetry, this anthology offers much to contemplate and discuss.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16305-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xx)
  3. Editors’ Preface
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
    JAY HOPLER
  4. “A Heauenly Poesie”: The Devotional Lyric
    (pp. xxv-xxx)
    KIMBERLY JOHNSON
  5. A Note on the Texts
    (pp. xxxi-xxxiv)
  6. PART ONE THE ANCIENT ORIGINS OF THE DEVOTIONAL LYRIC
    • [PART ONE Introduction]
      (pp. 1-4)

      The poetic tradition in Western culture traces its roots to the Mediterranean civilizations of the ancient world, and from the first, the devotional impulse has found expression in poetry. Among the oldest poems known to us are the Homeric Hymns, ancient poems in praise of Greek deities, which were written down after a long period of oral transmission. Ancient hymns were intended to be chanted or sung, by one singer or by a chorus of singers, and utilized the formal structures of poetry—including rhythm, sonic effects, and formal parallelism—to achieve both musicality and memorability. Roman hymns, which developed...

    • The Book of Psalms (c. SEVENTH CENTURY B.C.E.)
      (pp. 5-10)

      The book of psalms contains one hundred and fifty poems of varied styles, subjects, and moods. They represent the work of multiple authors over centuries of Hebrew history; though the bulk were probably composed in the seventh and sixth centuries b.c.e., some of the poems in this great devotional anthology may date from as early as the tenth century b.c.e., while others may have been written as late as the fifth century b.c.e., shortly before the collection was composited. The Hebrew title for the book istehilim, or praises, but not all the poems engage in precisely that activity—they...

    • Sappho (c. 625–c. 570 B.C.E.)
      (pp. 11-13)

      Sappho’s “hymn to aphrodite” is the ancient Greek poet’s sole extant poem; the bulk of her work survives only in fragments. Little is known of her biography, but she was certainly renowned for her art during her lifetime, as she is mentioned by a number of contemporary sources as one of the ancient world’s greatest lyric poets. An epigram ascribed to Plato describes her as the “Tenth Muse,” augmenting the number of nine mythological sister-goddesses who were thought to inspire the arts. Sappho seems to have spent most of her life on the Greek island of Lesbos, though she may...

    • The Book of Jeremiah (EARLY SIXTH CENTURY B.C.E.)
      (pp. 13-14)

      The book of jeremiah is one of the major prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible. It has been conjectured that Jeremiah lived during the reigns of Josiah and other monarchs of the southern kingdom of Judah. His writings seem to correspond to, and to respond to, the seizing (in around 586 b.c.e.) of Jerusalem and destruction of Solomon’s Temple by Nebuchadnezzar and the forces of Babylon, the narrative of which is offered in 2 Kings 21–25 and 2 Chronicles 33–36. In addition to the prophetic writings in the Book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah is traditionally credited with authoring the...

    • The Book of Job (c. SIXTH–FOURTH CENTURIES B.C.E.)
      (pp. 14-16)

      One of the literary books of the Hebrew Bible, this text relates the story of a man called Job, who, after being tried and afflicted by a supernatural figure described as “the adversary,” discusses the nature of God’s justice with three friends. After they debate the meaning of suffering for some time, God speaks from a whirlwind, chastening the men for speaking in their ignorance and affirming his sovereignty and control over human existence. The motif of the righteous sufferer is an ancient one, predating the composition of Job and appearing in texts throughout the Mediterranean. In this passage, Job...

    • Anacreon (c. 582–485 B.C.E.)
      (pp. 16-17)

      From teos, in asia minor, Anacreon became known for his poetry while he was still a youth. He was invited to become the court poet of Polycrates, the tyrant of the Aegean island Samos, and later joined the Athenian court of Hipparchus. He retired to the place of his birth, and lived out his days there. He wrote lyrics, elegies, and iambic poetry, though his work survives mostly in fragments. This poem petitions Dionysos, the god of wine and ecstatic ritual, who was adopted by the Romans as Bacchus....

    • The Book of Jonah (c. FIFTH–FOURTH CENTURIES B.C.E.)
      (pp. 17-18)

      A text in the hebrew bible, the Book of Jonah tells the tale of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh, seat of the ancient Assyrian empire, but tries to escape his divine commission by fleeing on a ship. At sea, the ship is taken by a storm, and the sailors throw Jonah overboard to appease the wrath of God. He is swallowed by a great sea creature, and after three repentant days in the creature’s belly, he is vomited out upon land. The book was probably composed in the period...

    • Homeric Hymn to Ares (c. THIRD CENTURY B.C.E.)
      (pp. 18-20)

      The homeric hymns are a collection of thirty-three Greek poems of unknown authorship, dating mostly from the seventh and sixth centuries b.c.e., though this hymn to the war god Ares seems to have been composed much later. The term “Homeric” indicates not that they were written by the author of theIliadandOdyssey, but rather that they employ the dactylic hexameter of Homer’s ancient epics. The poems range in length from 3 to over 500 lines, the longer poems relating epic narratives. The short invocations, like this brief prayer to Ares, served as preludes to festival epic recitations. The...

    • The Song of Songs (c. THIRD CENTURY B.C.E.?)
      (pp. 20-24)

      The song of songs, which is also known as the Song of Solomon or Canticles, is a suite of ancient near-Eastern erotic poems whose inclusion in the biblical canon has prompted millennia of interpretive debate. Across religious exegetical traditions, the book has been understood allegorically; the Jewish Midrash reads the Song as a figure for the love of God for the people of Israel, a love whose profound intimacy caused the ancient rabbis to describe the text as “the Holy of Holies,” a literary version of the most sacred sanctum of the temple. The Song was regarded by Christian theologians...

    • Lucretius (c. 99–c. 55 B.C.E.)
      (pp. 24-26)

      With this prayer, titus Lucretius Carus, known to us as Lucretius, begins his epic philosophical poemDe rerum natura, orOn the Nature of Things. It is a noted paradox that Lucretius begins his work with this invocation to Venus, because the poem’s stated purpose is to promote an Epicurean physics and to dissuade readers from seeking after supernatural explanations for worldly events. Lucretius argues rather that the operations of the world can be accounted for in terms of natural phenomena, and explains the motions of the universe as the effect of atoms upon one another. Whether Lucretius is merely...

    • Horace (65–8 B.C.E.)
      (pp. 26-29)

      Quintus horatius flaccus was born in Venusia, in the boot-heel of what is now Italy. His father sent the young Horace to be educated first in Rome and then in Athens. He joined the army of Brutus after the assassination of Julius Caesar, and fought on the losing side at the battle of Philippi, against Octavian (later Caesar Augustus). He returned to Rome, where he was befriended by Virgil, who introduced him to his own patron, Maecenas. Horace’s literary legacy includes early Satires and Epodes, two books of Epistles, and four monumental books of Odes. Horace’s own name for this...

    • The Gospel According to Luke (c. 60–80 C.E.)
      (pp. 29-30)

      The author of the gospel of Luke, probably a gentile (that is, Greek) Christian, intended his narrative for the Greek-speaking populations of the ancient world. His report of the life of Jesus is based not on eyewitness experience but on existing sources, including the Gospel of Mark. Luke’s Gospel contains a wide variety of literary forms, indicating that its author was a well-read and inventive writer. In the lyric printed here, which contains allusions to a number of Hebrew scriptures (including the books of Genesis, Samuel, Job, the Psalms, Isaiah, and Habakkuk), Mary, the mother of Jesus, meditates in verse...

  7. PART TWO EARLY CHRISTIAN LYRICS THROUGH THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 31-32)

      What would become, during the early modern period, a strong English lyric culture grew out of both classical and Germanic poetic traditions. Though early Christian communities harbored some suspicion about classical poetry, viewing it as idolatrous and its rhetoric as more concerned with self-congratulatory beauty than with truth, nevertheless the rise of religious poetry in the ante-Nicene period was aided by the increasing number of educated Romans converting to Christianity, and by a growing recognition of the literary value of the Bible with its trove of figures and rhetorical flourishes. As Christianity expanded across Europe, its classically inflected poetic repertoire...

    • Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–c. 215)
      (pp. 33-37)

      Titus flavius clemens was born, according to some ancient sources, in Athens, and converted to Christianity. He became a prominent early Christian theologian, and he taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. His major works are theological treatises urging Greeks to adopt Christianity and offering the figure of Jesus as the great teacher of humankind. Appended to one of these long prose works, the Παιδαγωγoς, orInstructor, was this hymn. Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861) provides a vivid translation of the first half of the poem; the balance is supplied by nineteenth-century scholars Alexander Roberts (1826–1901) and...

    • Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329–c. 390)
      (pp. 37-38)

      Gregory was born to wealthy parents in Cappadocia, a Roman province of what is now Turkey. His mother converted the family to Christianity. Gregory studied rhetoric and philosophy in major centers of learning in the ancient world, including Alexandria and Athens. He served as a presbyter in his hometown of Nazianzus, as Bishop of Sasima, and eventually as Archbishop of Constantinople. He wrote a number of theological works, most notably concerning the doctrine of the Trinity and the nature of the Holy Spirit. In addition to his many theological discourses, he wrote several poems. His work was translated into Latin...

    • Ambrose of Milan (340–397)
      (pp. 38-40)

      Aurelius ambrosius was born into a Roman Christian family in what is now western Germany. Educated in Rome, Ambrose served as consular prefect, or governor, of a region of northern Italy, headquartered in Milan. After helping to quell a doctrinal conflict among early Christian sects, he was pressured to become Bishop of Rome, despite never having been baptized. After a hasty baptism, he took up the bishopric. His subsequent theological work helped to stabilize the developing doctrine of an institutional Christian church. He wrote many exegetical treatises on various aspects of theology and doctrine, as well as a number of...

    • Prudentius (348–c. 413)
      (pp. 41-43)

      Aurelius prudentius clemens was born in what is now northern Spain. He was a lawyer and governor before serving in the court of the Roman emperor Theodosius I, but he retired in later life to become a religious ascetic. His work includes a number of poems and hymns, a few of which are still familiar today, including the Christmas hymn translated as “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” His allegorical poemPsychomachiawould deeply influence the allegorical literature of the medieval period. The poem included below concludes his collection of hymns on the liturgical hours. The translation is by English Wesleyan...

    • Cædmon (fl. c. 657)
      (pp. 43-44)

      Probably the earliest surviving Old English poem, Cædmon’s Hymn was recorded in the LatinHistoria ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, orEcclesiastical History of the English People, by a Northumbrian monk named Bede. In the course of relating the spread of Christianity and the development of the English church, Bede tells how Cædmon, an illiterate Anglo-Saxon who cared for animals at the monastery of Streonæshalch (Whitby Abbey) at the time of St. Hilda (614–680), was miraculously inspired with the gift of song. Legend tells us that the rustic later became a monk and religious poet. Cædmon’s poem marries the alliterative meter...

    • Alcuin (c. 735–804)
      (pp. 44-48)

      Alcuin was born in northumbria, an early medieval kingdom in the northeast of what is now England. He came to York at an early age, where he came under the tutelage of Archbishop Ecgbert, who had himself been a disciple of the Venerable Bede. In York, Alcuin became learned in classical poetry, as well as in the classical educative disciplines including grammar, logic, music, mathematics, and astronomy. He later joined Charlemagne’s court, where as the head of the Palace School for the last two decades of the eighth century he became a spearhead figure of the Carolingian Renaissance, a period...

    • Rabanus Maurus (c. 776–856)
      (pp. 49-51)

      Born in mainz, in what is now Germany, Rabanus Maurus was a monk who later became the Archbishop of Mainz. A student of Alcuin, Rabanus was the author of the encyclopediaDe rerum naturis(On the Nature of Things), and also wrote treatises on education and a number of commentaries on the Bible. He was one of the most prominent teachers and writers of the Carolingian age, and earned the honorific titlepraeceptor Germania, “the teacher of Germany.” Though “Veni, creator spiritus” is properly a hymn rather than a lyric, its influence on the poetic tradition is undeniable, owing in...

    • Gottschalk (803?–867?)
      (pp. 51-55)

      Gottschalk was born into a noble Saxony family. In his childhood he was given as an oblate, vowed by his parents to monastic life, to the monastery of Fulda (in modern Germany), which was then an important educational center with Rabanus Maurus, Alcuin’s pupil, serving as head of its school. There, Gottschalk studied classical literature, the Bible, and the writings of the early church fathers. Gottschalk became a monk in his young adulthood, but he soon petitioned to be released from orders, saying he’d been compelled against his will to the vows. Maurus resisted, and though Gottschalk was released the...

    • Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)
      (pp. 55-56)

      Born into a noble family in Burgundy, in what is now France, Bernard was instrumental in refocusing ritual worship in Christianity into a personalized and emotionally engaged faith-practice. In contrast to the classically inflected rational approach to worship embraced by many of his contemporaries, Bernard preached an immediate faith, one that transcended or eluded the operations of reason. Bernard came to be known as Doctor Mellifluus, “the honey-sweet theologian,” for his eloquence. His treatise on the Song of Songs continues to influence interpretations of that biblical text. The full text of “Iesu, dulcis memoria” ranges from forty-two to fifty-three stanzas,...

    • Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
      (pp. 57-59)

      Son of a nobleman, thomas of Aquino was educated in classical literature and philosophy before taking orders as a Dominican monk. His prodigious output includes a number of commentaries on Aristotle and the magisterialSumma Theologiœ, a compendium of theological teachings and doctrine. His philosophical approach to faith earned him the honorific title “The Angelic Doctor,” and he appears in Dante’sDivine Comedyas an exemplar of religious wisdom. Pope Urban VI commissioned Thomas Aquinas to write the text for the eucharistic liturgy, though this hymn, composed around 1260 (and possibly attributed in error to Thomas Aquinas), was not originally...

    • Medieval Lyrics (THIRTEENTH–SIXTEENTH CENTURIES)
      (pp. 59-72)

      The late medieval period saw an explosion of lyrics, both secular and sacred. Thousands of lyrics from the thirteenth century on are preserved in manuscripts, varying widely in both theme and style. In an age in which literary production was for the most part anonymous, lyrics circulated in manuscript from hand to hand, and were gathered in compilations by monks. Religious orders in England were increasingly devoting themselves to preaching in the vernacular, and many lyrics seem to have been written or collected to embellish sermons, to liven them up with a few lines of pithy vernacular poetry. Though informed...

  8. PART THREE PSALM TRANSLATIONS OF THE ENGLISH RENAISSANCE:: THE BIBLE AS ART
    • [PART THREE Introduction]
      (pp. 73-76)

      Miles coverdale (1488–1569), who produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible into English, also published in 1535 the first vernacular psalter,Goostly Psalmes and Spiritual Songes Drawen out of the Holy Scripture, which contained English versions of thirteen psalms. Coverdale’s translations were not the first renderings of psalmic texts into English (the tenth-century Paris Psalter contains some fifty psalms in Old English), but they were the first to be printed and disseminated widely, and were thus available for use in worship services.

      The Reformation of the sixteenth century put an increased priority on vernacular worship—that is,...

    • Thomas Sternhold (1500–1549) and John Hopkins (d. 1570)
      (pp. 77-79)

      Groom of the robes to both Henry VIII and Edward VI of England, Thomas Sternhold published his first, short collection ofCertayn Psalmes, containing nineteen psalms and dedicated to Edward VI, sometime between 1547 and 1549. Shortly after his death, an expanded volume,Al such psalms of David as Thomas Sternehold late grome of the kinges Majesties Robes, didde in his life time draw into english Metre, was shepherded into publication by clergyman John Hopkins, who added seven of his own psalm translations to Sternhold’s thirty-seven. Their translations were included in most editions of the Geneva Bible and adopted for...

    • Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (1503–1542)
      (pp. 80-82)

      Thomas wyatt was born into a family connected to English royalty; his father had served as one of Henry VII’s Privy Council members, and the poet himself served as an ambassador under Henry VIII. He was part of the embassy to petition Pope Clement VII to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that Henry could marry Anne Boleyn. Wyatt was knighted in 1535, but in 1536 he was imprisoned for suspicion of adultery with Anne Boleyn. His favor at court rose and fell for his remaining years, and he was once again serving as an ambassador when...

    • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–1547)
      (pp. 82-84)

      Surrey was born into a noble family, descended from kings through both parental lines. He was raised at Windsor Castle with Henry VIII’s illegitimate son as his friend and companion, and two of his cousins (Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard) were among Henry VIII’s six wives. For voicing a series of impolitic opinions in the fragile early years of young Edward VI’s reign, Surrey was condemned for treason and executed. Together with Sir Thomas Wyatt, Surrey introduced the sonnet into English. Surrey’s poetry circulated in manuscript form among courtiers. It was published posthumously in Richard Tottel’s 1557Miscellany;the full...

    • Anne Askew (Ayscough) (1521–1546)
      (pp. 84-85)

      Born into a family of landed gentry, Askew was married off by her father at the age of fifteen to Thomas Kyme, as a proxy for an older sister for whom the marriage had originally been arranged. Her refusal to take her husband’s name indicates the friction between them, due in part to her strong Protestantism. She spoke out publicly against Catholic doctrine, and in 1545 was arrested as a heretic, though her examiners could not prove their charges against her and she was released. She was arrested and interrogated again in 1546; according to her own account, she parried...

    • Anne Lok (c. 1530–AFTER 1590)
      (pp. 86-97)

      Anne lok (sometimes locke) was the daughter of a merchant. In her childhood, her father was governor of the Merchant Adventurers’ factory in Antwerp, where the family converted to Protestantism. After the family returned to London in the 1540s, Anne married mercer Henry Lok, a committed Protestant. In Henry’s household, Anne met Scottish theologian John Knox, with whom she developed a lifelong friendship. When Knox was in exile in Geneva, Anne went with her children, and with her husband’s apparent blessing, to live chastely in Knox’s company. In Geneva, Anne translated Calvin’s sermons on the song of Hezekiah, as well...

    • George Gascoigne (c. 1535–1577)
      (pp. 97-101)

      The eldest son of sir john Gascoigne, George was intended for a career in the law. Whether he persisted in this profession is unclear, but his exploits were notorious; by his own account he sold his inheritance to pay his debts. He served as a Member of Parliament for a time, but his election was later refused on charges that he was “a defamed person,” “a common Rymer,” and “a notorious rufilanne [ruffian].” Considering himself a devotee of Chaucer, Gascoigne in 1573 published his most well-known work,A Hundredth Sundry Flowres, a collection of poems that hinted, in satiric style,...

    • Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586) and Mary Sidney Herbert (1561–1621)
      (pp. 101-107)

      Aristocratic siblings philip and Mary Sidney were connected with nearly all aspects of English culture in the late sixteenth century. Philip was appointed the Royal Cupbearer in 1576, and served as an ambassador to continental imperial courts in the late 1570s. Though his relationship with Queen Elizabeth varied with political and interpersonal frictions of his time, he was knighted in 1583. Philip’s zeal for the Protestant cause led him to participate in the war against Spanish forces in the Netherlands, where he was shot in the thigh. He died twenty-six days later, at the age of thirty-one. At the time...

    • George Herbert (1593–1633)
      (pp. 108-109)

      In 1630, herbert left behind political ambitions and a brief career in Parliament to take orders in the Church of England. He spent the rest of his short life serving as the minister of a small parish in Bemerton St. Andrew, near Salisbury. In 1633, Herbert completed a book of poems entitledThe Temple, in which his translation of the famous Twenty-Third Psalm appears. More work fromThe Templecan be found in the next section of this anthology....

    • John Milton (1608–1674)
      (pp. 109-111)

      Milton was born the son of a scrivener in London. Educated at Cambridge, he was preparing to take orders in the Anglican Church, but became involved instead in politics. After the English Civil War, he served as Secretary for Foreign Tongues—a sort of official multilingual letter-writer—under Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. Of his many works, his first datable compositions are two psalm translations, produced at school when he was fifteen. Other poems by Milton are included in the next section of this anthology....

    • Richard Crashaw (1613–1649)
      (pp. 111-113)

      Crashaw was the son of William Crashaw, a staunchly anti-Catholic preacher who had officiated at the death of Mary, Queen of Scots. Richard, perhaps in rebellion against his father, converted to Catholicism in adulthood. In 1646, the exiled English Queen Henrietta Maria helped Crashaw to secure a position in Rome, but he died after only three years in Italy. Crashaw’s major works of poetry are the collectionsSteps to the TempleandThe Delights of the Muses;more of his work can be found in the next section of this anthology....

    • The Bay Psalm Book (1640)
      (pp. 113-116)

      The first book printed in America was a psalter, published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Stephen Day. Though the Puritan separatists who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony had brought a number of psalm books with them, including the Sternhold and Hopkins translation, they wished for a psalter that would forgo poetic invention and hew more closely to the Hebrew originals. A number of ministers, including Richard Mather (father to Increase and grandfather to Cotton), presented this new volume of translated psalms, to be sung to familiar tunes from existing psalters. The book’s full title page readsThe Whole Booke of Psalmes...

  9. PART FOUR THE FLOURISHING OF THE DEVOTIONAL LYRIC IN THE POST-REFORMATION ERA
    • [PART FOUR Introduction]
      (pp. 117-120)

      In charting the historical development of the devotional lyric, we might think of the period from the middle sixteenth century through the late seventeenth century as standing at the convergence of a number of intellectual and theological developments, a sort of poetic perfect storm.

      The end of the fifteenth century had seen the accession to the throne of Henry VII, under whose monarchy the government of England became centralized, consolidated, and strengthened. This increased stability led to the growth of national and cultural infrastructures, including the expansion of universities.

      As the intellectual culture of England developed, the island nation increasingly...

    • John Skelton (c. 1460–1529)
      (pp. 121-122)

      Educated at oxford and Cambridge, Skelton was the first significant poet of the Tudor period. He was a favorite of Henry VII’s mother, the Countess of Richmond. Under her influence, he participated in the royal household and served as a tutor to the child who would become Henry VIII. He may have been appointed Poet Laureate when his pupil became King. Skelton was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church in the last years of the fifteenth century, and later retired from courtly circles to serve as rector of a small town in Norfolk. He was perhaps best known for...

    • William Baldwin (1515–1563?)
      (pp. 122-123)

      William baldwin is perhaps best known as one of the original compilers of the 1559Mirrour for Magistrates,a collection of didactic and moralistic poems narrating the lives and tragic ends of various historical figures, with the intention that magistrates and other persons in power would learn from the ethical examples—and especially from the errors—of the famous. Born in the southwest of England and educated at Oxford, Baldwin published a number of works, includingA Treatise of Morall Phylosophie(1547) and the verse translationCanticles or Balades of Salomon(1549)....

    • Elizabeth I (1533–1603)
      (pp. 123-124)

      Elizabeth tudor assumed the throne of England after her sister Mary’s death in 1558. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, had been Henry VIII’s second wife, whom he married after his split from the Roman Catholic Church and his divorce from Mary’s mother, Catherine of Aragon. But Anne Boleyn had been executed when Elizabeth was a young child, and she was declared illegitimate. Elizabeth brought a savvy and pragmatic political sensibility to her reign, and governed England with relative religious tolerance, though as Supreme Governor of the Church of England she established Protestantism as the official state religion. It was long expected...

    • Richard Stanihurst (1545–1618)
      (pp. 124-125)

      Born in dublin, stanihurst was the first major Irish writer to compose in English. He was friendly with scholar and Latinist Gabriel Harvey and poet Sir Philip Sidney. Educated at Oxford, Stanihurst, after completing training in the law, moved to Leiden and took holy orders. He served as chaplain to Albert, Archduke of Austria, who was then governor of the Spanish Netherlands. Stanihurst’s Latin works in poetry and prose are numerous, and he also published translations of Virgil’sÆneidand several psalms....

    • Edmund Spenser (1552–1599)
      (pp. 125-126)

      An english poet best known for his allegorical fantasy epicThe Faerie Queene,Spenser was a man of high ambition, aspiring to become the greatest poet of his time. He was born to a family whose bloodlines were not noble, but he received a strong education and became the secretary to noblemen, including the Earl of Leicester, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite. In 1580, Spenser was in service to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, and he wrote the bulk of his literary output in that country, including a pastoral calledColin Clouts Come Home Again, The Faerie Queene,and his sonnet sequence...

    • Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke (1554–1628)
      (pp. 126-127)

      Born the only son of a noble family, Fulke Greville attended school with Philip Sidney, who became his close friend. Sidney’s father offered the youth a post, but he chose instead to follow Philip to Elizabeth I’s court. After Sidney’s death, Greville wrote an elegy to the poet, and later a biography of his friend. Greville served in Parliament, and held high governmental positions under both Elizabeth I and James I. Greville was murdered by a servant who believed he had been cheated in Greville’s will. All of Greville’s works were published posthumously, including his biography of Sidney, a few...

    • Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
      (pp. 128-129)

      Philip sidney was born at Penshurst, his family’s ancestral manor, the eldest son of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and nephew of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He attended Oxford, but left without taking a degree to travel through Europe. After his return, Sidney became a prominent figure in Elizabethan culture, both as a courtier to Elizabeth I and as a patron of the arts, encouraging such authors as Edward Dyer, Fulke Greville, and Edmund Spenser, who dedicatedThe Shepheardes Calenderto him. Sidney’s works include translations of the Psalms (see Part 3 of this anthology), the long...

    • Robert Southwell (1561–1595)
      (pp. 129-131)

      In 1584, southwell, an Englishman living in Rome, was ordained a priest. That same year, an English law was enacted that forbade any English-born subject who had entered into Roman Catholic orders to remain in England longer than forty days on pain of death. Southwell requested that he be sent to England in 1586 as a Jesuit missionary. He went from one Catholic family to another, administering Catholic rites, and in 1589 became domestic chaplain to Ann Howard, whose husband, the first Earl of Arundel, was in prison convicted of treason. After he had spent six years in England, Southwell’s...

    • William Alabaster (1567–1640)
      (pp. 131-133)

      Born the eldest of six children, Alabaster was descended from an ancient Norman line, though by the time of his birth the family worked mostly in trade. William was educated at Cambridge, where he produced poems in Latin, Greek, and English. He served as chaplain to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and sailed with the earl on his martial expedition against the Spaniards in Cadiz. On this voyage, Alabaster was converted to Roman Catholicism. His conversion, and his zealous defense of the Roman faith, led him to be imprisoned several times. Years later, with apparent vacillation and spiritual turmoil, Alabaster...

    • Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
      (pp. 134-135)

      Campion, whose parents died in his childhood, studied law, medicine, and music. He was a practicing physician in London. Additionally, he became a prominent theorist of poetry as well as music, publishing both a book on prosody,Observations in the Art of English Poesie(1602), and a technical treatise on music,A New Way of Making Fowre Parts in Counterpoint(1613). He wrote masques and songs, and poems in both Latin and English. His religious lyrics appear in a book of “airs,” or poems set to music; they were originally published along with a score for performance....

    • Aemilia Lanyer (1569–1645)
      (pp. 135-137)

      The first englishwoman to publish her poetry as a professional writer, Lanyer was the daughter of one of Elizabeth I’s royal musicians. She was educated among nobility and, although she married her cousin, was also a mistress to a noble kinsman of Elizabeth’s. In 1611, she publishedSalve Deus Rex Judaeorum,a long religious poem that addresses the mistreatment of women throughout history, an error for which she blames a misunderstanding both of the scriptures and of Christian doctrine. Her defense of women revisits biblical episodes to demonstrate how their female characters serve as models for devotion. The passage included...

    • John Donne (1572–1631)
      (pp. 137-144)

      John donne was born into a financially comfortable family of London Catholics. Donne’s father was an iron merchant, and his mother was the daughter of writer John Heywood and the great-niece of Sir Thomas More. Donne studied law and anticipated a political career. He was later appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, but Donne’s career aspirations were derailed when, in 1601, he secretly married Ann More, Lady Egerton’s seventeen-year-old niece. Donne was dismissed from Egerton’s service and committed by the bride’s father to Fleet Prison for several weeks. For more than a decade...

    • Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
      (pp. 144-146)

      Perhaps best known for his many plays and masques, Ben Jonson boldly published a volume of hisWorksin 1616, containing drama and poetry that manifested his determination to revive classical forms and themes. In 1640, an expanded folio volume appeared, containing among its catalogue of Jonson’s verse some few religious works. Jonson’s influence on his contemporaries was profound: many of the so-called Cavalier poets (those whose work is marked by grace and a neoclassical aesthetic, many of whom were courtiers and supported King Charles I during the English Civil War) described themselves as his “sons” or his “tribe”; their...

    • Sir John Beaumont (1583–1627)
      (pp. 147-148)

      John beaumont was the brother of the playwright Francis Beaumont. Born into a noble family, John went to Oxford and later studied law. A Catholic, he was fined for his refusal to attend Anglican services. Nevertheless, he seems to have been active at court and was made the First Baronet Beaumont in 1627. He began to publish verse when he was still in his teens, and counted the poet Michael Drayton among his friends. His reputation as a writer rested on an early mock-heroic work calledThe Metamorphosis of Tobacco. His long poem in twelve books,The Crown of Thornes,...

    • William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)
      (pp. 149-150)

      Born the son of the first Laird of Hawthornden in Midlothian, Scotland, Drummond was educated at the newly founded University of Edinburgh. He became Laird in 1610 upon the death of his father, who had served as gentleman-usher to James VI of Scotland (later James I of England). Many of his poems respond in some way to the Stuart monarchy: Drummond’s first publication, in 1613, was an elegy upon Prince Henry, and he publishedA Panegyricke to the King’s Most Excellent Majestiein 1617. He also spent many years researching and writing a proseHistory of Scotland during the Reigns...

    • Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
      (pp. 150-153)

      Herrick was born in london to a prosperous goldsmith, and in his youth he apprenticed to his uncle, who served as King James’s jeweler. But Herrick left the family trade to attend college, and took orders in the Church of England in 1623. His Royalist position caused him to lose his vicarage in the wake of the English Civil War, and he spent the years of the Commonwealth living in London and preparing poems for publication. His bookHesperides,containing sacred and secular poems, appeared in 1648. After the monarchy was restored, Herrick was reinstalled at his vicarage, where he...

    • Francis Quarles (1592–1644)
      (pp. 153-158)

      Orphaned as a child, Francis Quarles gained an education at Cambridge and Oxford. He studied law, and was a part of the Earl of Arundel’s mission to Heidelberg escorting Elizabeth, the daughter of King James, to marry the Elector Palatine. Quarles was a dedicated Royalist, but his religious writings earned him great favor among the Puritan opponents of Charles I. Quarles produced a significant body of work over his lifetime, including a number of verse-paraphrases of different books of the Bible, supplemented by moral commentary. These were republished together in the 1630 volumeDivine Poems. Another volume of religious poems,...

    • George Herbert (1593–1633)
      (pp. 158-165)

      George herbert was born in Wales to a literarily connected noble family: his mother, Magdalen Herbert, was an influential literary patron to John Donne and other poets, and he was related by marriage to Mary Sidney Herbert. His first poems, which argued that God is a worthier subject for verse than romance, he sent as a gift to his mother. Herbert served as rector at Bemerton in Wiltshire, where he was admired for his diligence and humility. When he realized he was dying of consumption, he sent a collection of his poems in manuscript to his friend Nicholas Ferrar to...

    • Christopher Harvey (1597–1663)
      (pp. 165-168)

      Clergyman christopher Harvey was himself the son of a clergyman. He is today best known as the author ofThe Synagogue, or, The shadow of The Temple,a set of poems that was published anonymously in 1640 in a single volume along with George Herbert’sThe Temple. The influence of Herbert is obvious throughout Harvey’s work. A later edition of Harvey’s poems appeared in 1647, augmented by poems on festivals and church ornaments and intended to defend the doctrines of the Church of England against Puritan attacks. Harvey also published, anonymously, an emblem book calledSchola cordis(School of the...

    • Richard Flecknoe (c. 1600–c. 1678)
      (pp. 168-168)

      Not much is known about Flecknoe’s origins, though he seems to have been born in England to an Irish family. It was suggested that he was a Jesuit priest, though there is no clear corroboration for that claim. The few biographical details that can be determined about Flecknoe are based upon hisRelation of Ten Years’ Travels in Europe, Asia, Afrique and America(c. 1655), a volume that brings together letters he wrote during his travels. He was a Royalist and a Catholic, and he seems to have begun his voyages to escape the English Civil War. Flecknoe’s circle of...

    • Thomas Washbourne (1606–1687)
      (pp. 169-169)

      Washbourne was born in Worcestershire and educated at Oxford. He was an English clergyman and poet, and gained moderate renown for his 1654 bookDivine Poems. His work, and his reputation as a poet, was revived by the republication of his religious verse in the nineteenth century....

    • John Milton (1608–1674)
      (pp. 170-174)

      Milton was a poet, a scholar, a polemicist for the cause of political and religious reform, and a civil servant who was appointed to be Secretary for Foreign Tongues during Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate. He wrote a number of prose tracts against episcopacy and in support of personal and religious liberty, which led him to argue publicly for the execution of King Charles I. A warrant for his arrest was issued upon the restoration of the monarchy to Charles II, but he was released from his brief imprisonment at the intervention of a few influential friends, including Andrew Marvell. Milton’s first...

    • William Cartwright (1611–1643)
      (pp. 175-176)

      Best known as a dramatist, Cartwright was born in Gloucestershire and educated at Oxford, where he studied metaphysics and became famous for his eloquent preaching. He became a cleric and served at Salisbury Cathedral. Cartwright associated with Ben Jonson and was among the poets who followed Jonson’s comedic theatrical style. In addition to his plays, an edition of Cartwright’s collected poems was published in 1651....

    • Anne Bradstreet (1612–1672)
      (pp. 176-177)

      Anne dudley was born to a nonconforming (religiously dissenting from the Church of England) former soldier of Queen Elizabeth, Thomas Dudley, who managed the affairs of the Earl of Lincoln. In 1630 Dudley sailed with his family for America with John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Company. Anne and her husband, Simon Bradstreet, who was her father’s business associate, went as well. The family settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where Bradstreet and her husband raised eight children. During this period, Bradstreet wrote a number of poems, many of which were spirited off to England by her brother-in-law, purportedly without her knowledge,...

    • Richard Crashaw (1613–1649)
      (pp. 177-180)

      The son of a puritan preacher, Crashaw converted to Catholicism in the 1640s. After being educated at Cambridge, he left England to avoid the rising animosity toward Catholics during the English Civil War; his friend Abraham Cowley found him living in poverty in Paris, and introduced him to the exiled Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I. She encouraged Crashaw to go to Rome, and sped his way with a recommendation to the Pope. Crashaw was ultimately given a position serving a cardinal. Crashaw’s early verse is indebted to the classical tradition, and he composed many epigrams—or short, pithy...

    • Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)
      (pp. 181-182)

      English poet and Parliamentarian Marvell was born in Yorkshire. After attending Cambridge, Marvell traveled on the European continent and served as a tutor for a succession of prominent families, including Lord General Thomas Fairfax, the anti-Royalist military leader, and Oliver Cromwell. He worked with Milton on Cromwell’s Council of State and was elected to Parliament to represent his childhood home of Hull. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Marvell helped Milton avoid execution for his role in arguing for the execution of Charles I. In addition to a substantial body of poetic work, much of it influenced by...

    • Henry Vaughan (1622–1695)
      (pp. 182-187)

      Vaughan was a physician and poet, twin brother to the philosopher and alchemist Thomas Vaughan. He was proudly Welsh, and called himself the “Silurist” in homage to the Silures, a group of Welsh Celts who had resisted Roman conquest. He published one collection of mostly secular poetry,Olor Iscanus(The Swan of the Usk,a river near Vaughan’s hometown), before turning his energies fully to spiritual writing. His best-known book,Silex Scintillans(The Fiery Flint), brought him some literary acclaim, and it was republished within a few years in an expanded edition. As a supporter of Charles I, Vaughan was...

    • Mary Carey (c. 1609–c. 1681)
      (pp. 187-187)

      Daughter of a nobleman, Carey married in her youth a Royalist knight. After his death, she married an officer in the Parliamentary forces, on the opposing political side. Carey was the author of a memoir, in which she describes her life as a military wife during the English Civil War and the years following. As this poem suggests, she gave birth to many children, all but two dying in infancy....

    • Lancelot Addison (1632–1703)
      (pp. 188-191)

      English clergyman addison served seven years as chaplain of the army garrison at Tangiers, where he became fascinated by both Judaism and Islam. He wrote several studies of the customs and rites of foreign cultures, inflected by a sympathetic and liberal-minded perspective uncommon for his time. He was later appointed chaplain to King Charles II. Addison wrote a number of hymns and religious lyrics, and published a volume,Devotional Poems, Festival and practical,in 1699. He was the father of writer Joseph Addison....

    • Katherine Philips (1632–1664)
      (pp. 191-192)

      Born to a presbyterian family in London, and married at a young age to a Parliamentarian who signed Charles I’s death warrant, Philips nevertheless seems to have supported the King’s political and church policies. Her friendship with members of Charles II’s circle may have saved her husband after the monarchy was restored. She was precociously literary, and began in her adolescence to write verse and plays with a coterie who shared an admiration for Cavalier plays and poetry and for French literature. The pet-name that grew from that society would become her literary pseudonym; the volume of her work that...

    • An Collins (fl. 1653)
      (pp. 192-194)

      One copy ofDivine Songs and Meditacions,a volume of poetry published in London in 1653, survives today, and is our only source for information about the life of its author, An Collins. She seems to have been a Protestant, and some of her poems lean toward the doctrines of a mild Puritanism. The introductory poem to her collection indicates that she was of a sickly constitution and kept largely to her house, and suggests that she may have lived in the country rather than in London itself. She reports in her poem “The Discourse” that she experienced a personal...

    • Eldred Revett (fl. 1657)
      (pp. 194-195)

      Very little is known about Revett’s life, but he did publish a volume of poetry in 1657. He was one of twelve children of a merchant-class family of Suffolk, in the southeast of England. He attended Cambridge, and later seems to have gone to law school in London. He associated with some Royalist poets, including Richard Lovelace. Beyond the poemsHumane and Divinethat appear in the 1657 collection, work by Revett shows up in a number of miscellaneous collections during the 1650s....

    • Julia Palmer (c. 1637–c. 1718)
      (pp. 196-197)

      Julia palmer was a nonconforming Calvinist who bequeathed her manuscript of two “centuries,” or sets of a hundred poems each, to a pair of apothecaries in Westminster. Although biographical information is difficult to trace, she is probably the Julia Palmer whose son was apprenticed to an apothecary in the 1680s. Palmer composed her poetry between 1671 and 1673, a period during which the English throne enacted the Declaration of Indulgence, which licensed nonconformists with freedom to worship and to preach; Palmer’s husband Nicholas was among those newly licensed preachers....

    • Thomas Traherne (c. 1637–1674)
      (pp. 197-204)

      The son of a shoemaker, Traherne may have been orphaned as a young child and raised by a relative. After graduating from Oxford, Traherne was appointed rector of Credenhill, a parish near Hereford. In 1667, he became private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to Charles II; he lived out his life in that nobleman’s household. With the exception of a brace of theological tracts published around the time of his death, Traherne’s work remained largely unknown during his lifetime. Manuscripts of his poems passed from hand to hand until they were discovered at...

    • Edward Taylor (1642–1729)
      (pp. 205-212)

      Son of a nonconforming Calvinist farmer, Taylor emigrated to the American colonies in 1668, on the heels of Charles II’s Act of Uniformity, which prescribed the form that public worship was allowed to take in an effort to eliminate nonconformists from clerical positions. He attended Harvard and became the minister and physician in the small town of Westfield, far in the Massachusetts frontier. Taylor’s major poetic works areGod’s Determinations,a sequence of dramatic verse debates about salvation, and the two series ofPreparatory Meditations,lyric poems that Taylor composed as he prepared to administer the sacrament of the Lord’s...

  10. PART FIVE THE POETIC SUBLIME:: THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES
    • [PART FIVE Introduction]
      (pp. 213-216)

      After nearly two centuries of religious upheaval, redefinition, and controversy, which culminated in England in a civil war, Parliamentary approval of the Toleration Act of 1689 relaxed religious tensions by granting some freedom of worship to Dissenters—those whose beliefs departed from the tenets of the established state Church of England. Though these policies notably did not extend to Catholics or Jews, they nevertheless helped to forge a culture of increased religious moderation and improved theological tolerance in England. As a consequence, during this period the cultural position of religion generally moved away from the violent flashpoint of division that...

    • Hymns of the Long Eighteenth Century
      • Joseph Addison (1672–1719)
        (pp. 218-219)

        Founder of the widely read periodicalThe Spectator,Joseph Addison was the eldest son of writer and cleric Lancelot Addison. Joseph was raised in the cathedral close at Lichfield. After attending Oxford, where he became known for his Latin verse, Addison traveled to Europe, hoping to secure diplomatic employment. He returned to England in 1703, and attained the position of Under-Secretary of State; he later served in Parliament, first in Ireland and then representing his home county of Wiltshire. Though he is mostly remembered for his essays, he did produce some poetry and fiction, as well as a translation of...

      • Elizabeth Singer Rowe (1674–1737)
        (pp. 219-220)

        Daughter of a dissenting minister, Rowe was born in Somerset, England. She wrote poetry from an early age, and during her young adulthood she was the principal contributor of poetry toThe Athenian Mercury,a biweekly London newspaper. Her volumeA Collection of Divine Hymns and Poemswas published in 1709....

      • Isaac Watts (1674–1748)
        (pp. 220-221)

        A popular and prolific writer, Watts is credited with having written nearly seven hundred and fifty hymns. He was raised in a nonconforming Calvinist home, and therefore was prohibited from attending either Oxford or Cambridge. He worked for some time training preachers, though his interest was more in education than in preaching; in addition to hymns, Watts wrote many books and essays on theology and on logic....

      • Charles Wesley (1707–1788)
        (pp. 221-223)

        The son of an anglican clergyman, Wesley became a leader of the Methodist movement in England. He studied classical languages and literature, and then entered the church in 1735, serving as chaplain to the garrison of English soldiers stationed in the colony of Georgia. Over his career, more than six thousand hymns by Wesley were published, and an additional two thousand were written without being set to music....

      • Jupiter Hammon (1711–c. 1806)
        (pp. 223-224)

        Born into slavery on Long Island, New York, Hammon was never emancipated. However, the family that held him encouraged his education. He became the first African American writer to be published in the Americas, and his poems and sermons brought him some fame. His 1786 “Address to the Negroes of the State of New York” was printed and circulated by abolitionist groups....

      • John Henry Newton (1725–1807)
        (pp. 224-226)

        Having been raised in london, the son of a shipmaster, John Newton became a sailor. Newton worked for a time on slave trader ships, and many years later he repented his involvement with that sordid profession. After some time at sea, Newton had a profound conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian. He studied biblical languages and eventually became ordained in the Church of England, in which capacity he became Curate of Olney. In 1767, poet William Cowper took up residence in Olney. Newton and Cowper collaborated on a volume of hymns, which was published under the titleOlney Hymns...

      • William Cowper (1731–1800)
        (pp. 226-228)

        Cowper’s father was rector of the Church of St. Peter in Hertfordshire when William was born. William was intended for a clerkship in Parliament, but seems to have experienced a nervous breakdown. After having attempted suicide several times, he settled with a retired clergyman and his family and moved with them to Olney, where he met John Henry Newton. The two men collaborated on the influential hymnalOlney Hymns,of which two of his contributions appear here. Cowper also left behind a large body of poetry, as well as translations of Homer’sIliadandOdyssey....

      • Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784)
        (pp. 228-229)

        Born in gambia, senegal, Wheatley was sold into slavery as a child, and purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who encouraged her education in literature and the classics, and she learned to read the Bible in Greek and Latin. She was emancipated upon her master’s death. She was the first African American poet to publish her own work. The 1773 publication of her first volume,Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,won her praise both in the colonies and in England, and earned her the admiration of Voltaire and George Washington. After her husband was imprisoned for debt,...

      • Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847)
        (pp. 229-230)

        A curate of the church of England in Cornwall and Devonshire, Henry Lyte was born in Scotland and educated in Ireland. He published a volume entitledPoems, chiefly Religiousin 1833, followed the next year by a collection of psalms and hymns calledThe Spirit of the Psalms. This piece was published with its now-familiar tune after Lyte’s death, in 1861....

      • Sarah Flower Adams (1805–1848)
        (pp. 231-232)

        Born in essex, england, Sarah Adams was the daughter of an English radical journalist and political writer who served six months in jail for having criticized in print the political involvements of a prominent Anglican bishop. Sarah was a Unitarian, and wrote a number of hymns, as well as religious prose and verse....

    • Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
      (pp. 232-234)

      At the time of his birth, Pope’s Catholic family would have been subject to the continuing anti-Catholic sentiment and legislation that marked Restoration England. Catholics were banned from attending university, teaching, serving in public office, and voting, but in addition to his self-directed studies Pope attended a clandestine Catholic school in London until his family was forced to move outside the city limits due to a law restricting Catholics from living within ten miles of the city. He developed a circle of literary friends, in which coterie he wrote pastoral poems, satires, plays, and essays in both prose and heroic...

    • Christopher Smart (1722–1771)
      (pp. 234-242)

      Christopher smart was born on a nobleman’s estate, his father the steward of the aristocratic house. He was educated early in the classics, and at university studied religion and literature and wrote poems in English and Latin. A refractory spendthrift at school, Smart wrote parodies, satires, and humorous essays for magazines while he was still a student. He relocated to London and continued to be active both in writing and in running up debts. Though some of Smart’s friends helped him to secure a contract to produce a weekly newspaper, in an effort to provide him with some sustainable income,...

    • William Blake (1757–1827)
      (pp. 242-244)

      Blake was an english poet and artist born in London to a merchant family. He was educated at home by his mother, who had rejected the teachings of the Church of England for the Moravian Church. He was apprenticed to an engraver, during which time he copied images from the Gothic churches in London. He studied art at the Royal Academy, and continued to experiment with new methods of etching and engraving throughout his life. His first collection of poems,Poetical Sketches,was published in 1783. His poetry and art were intertwined throughout his career, as he illustrated his own...

    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
      (pp. 244-245)

      Romantic poet, critic, and philosopher Coleridge was born the son of a vicar in Devon, England. At Cambridge, Coleridge befriended the future Poet Laureate Robert Southey, with whom he planned to establish a utopian community, but they became disillusioned and parted. Coleridge’s first collection,Poems on Various Subjects,appeared in 1796, and was followed the next year by another book of poems. His friendship with William Wordsworth produced the collaborative workLyrical Ballads. Suffering from chronic pain, Coleridge became addicted to opium and was on the verge of suicide, and for many years rarely left his house. During this period,...

    • Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802–1892)
      (pp. 245-246)

      Born in massachusetts, Emerson spent his early adulthood as a teacher in the schoolroom he and his brother had established in their mother’s house. He later attended divinity school at Harvard. Emerson’s first essay,On Nature,was published anonymously in 1836; in that work, he begins to formulate the philosophy that would come to be known as Transcendentalism—that is, that truth could be intuited directly from nature itself rather than needing to be revealed by God. Emerson’s essays on philosophical topics including individuality and freedom, most of which began as lectures, were published throughout his life. Following a lecture...

    • Gerald Griffin (1803–1840)
      (pp. 247-247)

      Born and raised in limerick, Ireland, son of a tradesman, Griffin completed much of his literary work in London, writing novels, plays, and essays for periodicals in addition to poetry. In 1837 he entered the Teaching Order of the Christian Brothers, and lived out his life in the North Monastery in Cork....

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
      (pp. 247-250)

      Victorian poet elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most popular writers of her age, widely read in both Britain and America. Born the eldest of twelve children, she was tutored at home, and showed great facility with language early on: she studied Greek and Latin, and tried her hand at writing an epic at the age of ten. As her writing began to be published, she produced poetry, translations, and prose. She was an activist writer throughout her prolific career, and helped to rouse support for child labor reforms through her poetry. Her 1844 collectionPoemsinspired a fan...

    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
      (pp. 250-251)

      American poet longfellow was born in Portland, Maine. He attended what would later become Bowdoin College, and during his studies he was offered a post as a professor of modern languages. He took a Grand Tour of Europe and immersed himself in its literature and languages. He went on to teach at Harvard, though he retired in 1854 to concentrate on writing poetry. His output was prodigious: Longfellow published sixteen collections of poetry (one of these appeared posthumously and was incomplete). He also wrote a number of novels and translations, including a revered translation of Dante’sDivine Comedy. Longfellow was...

    • Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
      (pp. 251-252)

      Alfred, first baron tennyson, was born a rector’s son, and though he had some distant aristocratic ancestry, his title was a product of his poetry: Tennyson was the first writer to be elevated to a British peerage in honor of his art. He published his first collection of poems in 1830 and continued publishing throughout his life. His work met with popular and critical success. At Cambridge, Tennyson met Arthur Henry Hallam, who became his dearest friend; at Hallam’s death, Tennyson wrote what would be his masterpiece, and he publishedIn Memoriam A.H.H.in 1850. That same year he succeeded...

    • Charles Harpur (1813–1868)
      (pp. 252-253)

      Born in new south wales, Australia, the son of emancipated convicts, Harpur was encouraged in his education from a young age. After a drought in the 1820s threatened the family livelihood, Harpur moved to Sydney to find work, and there began to contribute poems to newspapers and periodicals. While working on a cattle ranch, Harpur publishedThe Bushrangers,a play in five acts, and a number of poems. He kept writing poetry even as he continued to work in both ranging and mining, and was the first Australian writer to treat local concerns and issues. In addition to long historical...

    • Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
      (pp. 253-254)

      Whitman was born on long Island to parents with vague Quaker leanings. He left school at the age of eleven and spent time working as a journalist, a civil servant, a schoolteacher, and a volunteer nurse on the Civil War battlefields. Whitman published his first and most influential collection,Leaves of Grass,in 1855, financing the publication of its nearly eight hundred copies himself. He continued to edit and revise this volume until his death. Though not formally religiously affiliated, Whitman was influenced by the principles of deism and saw the soul as a divine thing....

    • Emily Dickinson (1830–1886)
      (pp. 254-258)

      Emily dickinson was born, lived her life, and died in the family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. The family belonged to the Congregational Church, though Emily was not herself a member. She attended college at South Hadley Female Seminary, later Mount Holyoke. The poet and her sister Lavinia cared for their parents until their deaths, neither woman marrying. Though she preferred to keep to her home, Emily kept up a lively correspondence with newspaper editor Samuel Bowles, who published some of her poems, albeit anonymously and heavily edited. She also corresponded with Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a literary critic who became the...

    • Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)
      (pp. 259-260)

      Christina rossetti was born into a literary environment; her father was Italian poet-in-exile Gabriele Rossetti, and her mother was the sister of Lord Byron’s friend and physician John Polidori. Her siblings William and Maria both became writers, and her brother Dante became a well-known poet and artist. Rossetti was educated at home, where her mother taught her literature, classics, and religious works. She published her first poem at age eighteen, and her most famous work,Goblin Market,appeared in 1862. In addition to a number of other collections of poetry, Rossetti also publishedThe Face of the Deep,a work...

    • Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
      (pp. 260-262)

      English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was born in Dorchester, and was schooled at home by his mother through his early childhood. His family was indifferently Anglican, and Hardy’s own religious perspective seems to have been a mixture of agnosticism and deism. His novels imagine the influence of a capricious supernatural force rather than hewing to any firm theology. Hardy was known during his lifetime as a novelist, finding success withFar from the Madding Crowd(1874),Tess of the d’Urbervilles(1891), andJude the Obscure(1895), among other works. He published the first volume of his poetry,Wessex Poems,...

    • Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)
      (pp. 262-268)

      Gerard manley hopkins was born in Stratford in Essex, east of London, the oldest of nine children. His parents were devout Anglicans, his father a businessman and civil servant who worked as a church warden for a time, and his mother deeply involved in music and literature. Hopkins studied classics at Oxford, where he became dissatisfied with what he perceived as his moral lapses. Pursuing an ever stricter course of self-control, in 1866, Hopkins burned all his poems and determined to convert to Catholicism, a decision that estranged him from his family. He became a Jesuit and continued his studies...

    • Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
      (pp. 269-269)

      Born in dublin to irish intellectuals and educated at Trinity College and Oxford, Wilde achieved his greatest popularity as a playwright, for witty plays includingThe Importance of Being Earnest(1895) andLady Windermere’s Fan(1892); he also produced poems, essays, and one novel,The Picture of Dorian Gray(1890). Wilde gained notoriety for his unconventionality and spent two years in prison as a consequence of his involvement with Lord Alfred Douglas, the judgment of a celebrity trial featuring a scandalous parade of moral accusations. While in prison, Wilde’s health suffered, and he wroteDe Profundis,a long letter about...

    • Francis Adams (1862–1893)
      (pp. 270-270)

      Born in malta, francis adams was the son of an army surgeon, and the family moved frequently with his assignments. Young Francis was sent to school in England, and, after failing to find a diplomatic position, became a schoolmaster on the Isle of Wight. He published his first volume of poetry,Henry and Other Tales,in 1884. That same year, Adams emigrated to what were then the Australian colonies in an effort to improve his health. He contributed briefly to a Melbourne newspaper before taking a position as a tutor on a sheep station. He continued to write and publish...

  11. PART SIX THE DEVOTIONAL LYRIC IN THE MODERN ERA
    • [PART SIX Introduction]
      (pp. 271-274)

      Confronted on the one hand by their need to replace what they saw as Romanticism’s ornamentation, sentimentality, and abject navel-gazing with an art more relevant to an age characterized by rapid technological advances and radical sociocultural, psychological, and intellectual redefinitions, and on the other hand by their need to make sense of the horrific violence of the first and second world wars, Modernist poets found themselves writing at a time when religious devotion seemed to many irrelevant if not completely impossible. This does not mean, however, that Modernist poets of the English-speaking world cast aside their previous pieties and proceeded...

    • William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)
      (pp. 275-276)

      Born in dublin, w. b. yeats was the son of the Irish painter John Butler Yeats, who is best known for his portraits of the young poet and of the Irish separatist John O’Leary, a man who would encourage Yeats in 1885 to address more Irish themes and subjects in his work. Clearly, this was advice Yeats took to heart; but while he would turn from the more romantic subjects of his youth, he never lost his interest in spiritualism and the occult. Shortly after meeting O’Leary, Yeats abandoned Theosophy and joined a secret society called the Golden Dawn. Yeats...

    • Robert Frost (1874–1963)
      (pp. 276-278)

      Though most often associated with the people, culture, and landscapes of New England, Robert Frost was born in San Francisco. He moved to Massachusetts when he was eleven years old, eventually studying both at Dartmouth and at Harvard, though he never graduated from either institution. Frost moved to England in 1912, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound, who became an early champion of his work. By the time Frost returned to America in 1915, he had published two books,A Boy’s Will(1913) andNorth of Boston(1915), and had managed to establish himself on both continents. He would...

    • William Carlos Williams (1883–1963)
      (pp. 278-279)

      William carlos williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, earned a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and spent his life working as a country doctor in the town of his birth. While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Williams met and befriended Ezra Pound and would become, with Pound, Hilda Doolittle, F. S. Flint, and others, an important member of the Imagist movement. In the aftermath of the publication in 1922 of Eliot’sThe Waste Land—a poem that would have a profound impact on Williams, both positively and negatively—Williams publishedSpring and Allin 1923. Over...

    • Ezra Pound (1885–1972)
      (pp. 279-280)

      Ezra weston loomis pound was born in what is now Idaho. At the University of Pennsylvania he befriended poet Hilda Doolittle, who would publish under the name H.D. Throughout his early education, Pound traveled extensively in Europe, and after receiving an M.A. in Romance languages and a brief stint teaching in Indiana, he relocated to Europe permanently. In addition to writing his own poetry, he was a prolific literary critic and editor who helped to shape the careers of contemporaries including T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and James Joyce. Outraged by World War I, Pound moved in 1924 to Italy,...

    • Marianne Moore (1887–1972)
      (pp. 281-281)

      Born in kirkwood, missouri, Marianne Moore was raised in the home of her maternal grandfather, who served as the pastor of the local Presbyterian church. Following her grandfather’s death, Moore and her family moved to Pennsylvania, where she attended Bryn Mawr College. She worked as a teacher before making her way, with her mother, to New York City, where she would live out the rest of her life. Moore secured a position at the New York Public Library and became the editor, in 1925, ofDialliterary magazine. She edited that publication until it published its final issue in 1929,...

    • T. S. Eliot (1888–1965)
      (pp. 282-289)

      Thomas stearns eliot was born in St. Louis and attended Harvard (both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student), the Sorbonne, and Oxford. In 1914, he moved to England, where he came under the influence, as did so many of his contemporaries, of Ezra Pound, whose effect on Eliot’s work cannot be overstated. Working first as a schoolteacher and then as a bank clerk, Eliot eventually turned to literary editing, founding the literary journalCriterion(1922–1939). He became the director of Faber & Faber in 1925. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and joined the Church of England....

    • e. e. cummings (1894–1962)
      (pp. 289-290)

      In addition to writing poetry, Edward Estlin Cummings was a painter, essayist, and playwright. Born into a Unitarian family in Massachusetts, Cummings attended Harvard and worked in the book industry upon graduating. He enlisted in the Ambulance Corps in France during World War I, but was vocal in his opposition to the war and his lack of enmity toward the Germans; in consequence, he was arrested by the French military on suspicion of spying. Upon his release, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He traveled widely throughout his life, particularly in Europe, settling finally in New Hampshire. He wrote...

    • Jean Toomer (1894–1967)
      (pp. 290-291)

      Nathan eugene pinchback Toomer was born in Washington, D.C., the descendant of both European and African American ancestors (his grandfather was P. B. S. Pinchback, Louisiana’s first African American governor). As his skin was extremely light, he lived both in all-white and all-black segregated communities at various times of his life. Eventually, he would refuse racial classification altogether, preferring to think of himself, and to live as much as was possible, only as an American. Around the time of the publication of his book of prose poetry,Cane(1923), Toomer became interested in the spiritual teachings of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff,...

    • Hart Crane (1899–1932)
      (pp. 291-293)

      Hart crane was born in Garrettsville, Ohio, the son of candy-maker Clarence Crane (inventor of Life Savers). He dropped out of high school and left home for New York City, where he took temporary work as a copywriter and began to publish poems in literary magazines. Crane would eventually publish two books of poetry,White Buildings(1926) andThe Bridge(1930). Crane’s short life was characterized by alcoholism, family discord, self-destructive behavior, manic depression, and, though his poetic skill was great and his artistic ambition epic, a sense of his own failure. He committed suicide by throwing himself into the...

    • Kenneth Slessor (1901–1971)
      (pp. 294-295)

      Born in orange, new south Wales, Kenneth Adolphe Schloesser (the family’s ancestors were German-Jewish; Slessor’s father changed the family name in 1914) was a poet and journalist and remains one of Australia’s most revered literary figures. He began his career as a journalist in 1920 as a reporter for theSydney Sun;he would become the editor of that publication in 1944, near the end of his tenure as official war correspondent for the Australian Army. Over his career, he worked for a variety of Australian newspapers and magazines. His poetic endeavors began somewhat earlier, in 1917, and he is...

    • George Oppen (1908–1984)
      (pp. 295-296)

      George oppen was born in New Rochelle, New York, the son of a wealthy diamond merchant. After a childhood and early adulthood plagued by trauma and instability (his mother committed suicide, his father remarried a woman George despised, he was expelled from high school following a car accident in which his passenger was killed, he left Oregon State University after being suspended for engaging in inappropriate behavior with the woman who would eventually become his wife), he founded the Objectivist Press with Louis Zukofsky and Charles Reznikoff in 1932. His first book of poetry,Discrete Series, was published by that...

  12. PART SEVEN THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY DEVOTIONAL LYRIC AFTER MODERNISM
    • [PART SEVEN Introduction]
      (pp. 297-298)

      The poets who wrote and published during the fifty-five-year period between the end of World War II and the beginning of the twenty-first century were remarkable not just for the strength and beauty of the work they produced, but also for the number of movements and schools into which they fragmented. From the ashes of Modernism arose the post-Modernist poetries of the New York School, the Beats, the Objectivists, the New Formalists, the Martian Poets, the Black Mountain Poets, the Deep Imagists, the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poets, the Confessionals, and the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance, among others. With these groups...

    • Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979)
      (pp. 299-300)

      Born in worcester, massachusetts, Bishop went to live with her grandparents on a farm in Nova Scotia as a child after her mother was institutionalized, her father having died shortly after her birth. Later in childhood, she returned to live with her father’s family in Massachusetts. She studied music and planned to become a composer before majoring in English. Bishop’s father had left her an inheritance that allowed her to live independently, and over the course of her life, Bishop lived in France, Key West, and Brazil, where she remained for fifteen years. In her later life she taught courses...

    • R. S. Thomas (1913–2000)
      (pp. 300-302)

      Ronald stuart thomas was born in Cardiff, Wales, and spent forty-two years ministering to the people of rural Wales as an Anglican clergyman, though he left the church in 1978. Thomas’s first three poetry collections—The Stones of the Field(1946),An Acre of Land(1952), andThe Minister(a play in verse, 1953)—were published with very little fanfare. His fourth book, however,Song at the Year’s Turning: Poems, 1942–1954(1955), proved to be his breakout volume and earned him significant critical praise and a new national audience. His reputation has increased significantly since that volume’s publication, and...

    • John Berryman (1914–1972)
      (pp. 302-309)

      John berryman was born John Allyn Smith, Jr., in McAlester, Oklahoma, and attended Columbia University. Berryman’s first published poems appeared in a volume calledFive Young American Poets. His poetic reputation was firmly established in 1956 withHomage to Mistress Bradstreet. In 1964, Berryman published77 Dream Songs, and four years later publishedHis Toy, His Dream, His Rest, a collection of over three hundred additional Dream Songs, for which he was awarded both the National Book Award for Poetry and the Bollingen Prize in 1969. The series “Eleven Addresses to the Lord” appears in the last book he published...

    • Dylan Thomas (1914–1953)
      (pp. 310-311)

      Dylan marlais thomas was born in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales, and began writing poetry at a very early age. He dropped out of school when he was sixteen and worked for a short period of time as a reporter for theSouth Wales Daily Post, quitting that job after only a year and a half to focus entirely on his verse. Of all the poems that Thomas wrote over the course of his short and turbulent life (he was known as much for his public misbehavior and drunkenness as he was for his art), more than half of them were composed...

    • Thomas Merton (1915–1968)
      (pp. 312-312)

      Thomas james merton was born in Prades, France, and following the death of his parents spent time in Italy, France, and England before beginning his studies at Columbia University in 1934. He remained at Columbia until 1939, having written his graduate thesis on William Blake. After his education, Merton converted to Catholicism, and in 1941 he entered the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in Kentucky, where he spent the rest of his life as a Trappist monk. A prolific author, Merton published his first book of poetry,Thirty Poems, three years after he entered the abbey. Other books would...

    • Robert Lowell (1917–1977)
      (pp. 313-315)

      Born in boston, robert Lowell was the product of two of New England’s oldest and most prominent families. He attended Harvard from 1935 to 1937, dropped out, attached himself to the poet Allen Tate, enrolled in Kenyon College, and graduated in 1940 with a degree in classics. That same year, Lowell converted to Catholicism. His first book,Land of Unlikeness, was hailed as an achievement upon its publication in 1944; however, it was not until his second book,Lord Weary’s Castle(1946), was awarded the Pulitzer Prize that his reputation as a major American literary figure was established. Lowell published...

    • Denise Levertov (1923–1997)
      (pp. 315-321)

      Levertov’s father converted from Russian Hasidic Judaism to Anglicanism after emigrating to the United Kingdom, and her mother was proudly Welsh. She was educated at home in Essex. When she was twelve, she sent a few of her poems to T. S. Eliot, and received an encouraging reply. In 1947, she married an American man and moved to New York, becoming an American citizen. Her teaching career took her to Brandeis University, MIT, Stanford University, and the University of Washington, where she converted to Roman Catholicism. She served as poetry editor forThe Nationin the 1960s, and published over...

    • Donald Justice (1925–2004)
      (pp. 322-323)

      Born in miami, donald rodney Justice was educated at the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Iowa. He is remembered at least as much for his teaching (at the Universities of Iowa and Florida) as for his writing; many of Justice’s students have gone on to become prominent poets themselves. Justice’s first collection of poems,The Old Bachelor and Other Poems, was published in 1951. His next book,The Summer Anniversaries(1960), won the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Twelve collections followed—along with scripts, memoirs, essays, short stories, and...

    • A. R. Ammons (1926–2001)
      (pp. 323-325)

      Archie randolph ammons was born on a farm in rural North Carolina, near Whiteville, and began writing poetry while serving aboard the destroyer escort U.S.S.Gunasonduring World War II. After the war, he earned a degree in biology from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. He taught at Cornell University from 1964 until his retirement in 1998. His first collection of poems,Ommateum: With Doxology, appeared in 1955. Over the course of a career that spanned nearly half a century, Ammons received many honors, including two National Book Awards, for...

    • James K. Baxter (1926–1972)
      (pp. 325-327)

      Born in dunedin, new zealand, James K. Baxter was one of that country’s most popular, outspoken, and celebrated poets. Having begun writing poetry seriously at the age of seven, he published his first collection of verse,Beyond the Palisade, in 1944, when he was just eighteen years old. His reputation grew considerably with the appearance of each subsequent volume, reaching its apex in 1957 with the international publication of his collectionIn Fires of No Return. That same year, Baxter broke with Anglicanism and was baptized into the Catholic Church. Eleven years later, Baxter had a dream vision that directed...

    • Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997)
      (pp. 327-328)

      Allen ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was one of the leading voices of the Beat Generation, a literary movement that effectively began in San Francisco on the evening of October 7, 1955, when Ginsberg gave the first public performance of his ground-breaking poem “Howl.”Howl and Other Poemswas published a year later by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Books. The book was banned for obscenity: copies were seized by United States customs officials and both Ferlinghetti and the manager of City Lights Bookstore were arrested for publishing and selling obscene material. After a trial,Howlwas...

    • Galway Kinnell (1927– )
      (pp. 328-330)

      Author of nearly two dozen books of poetry, translation, and fiction, Galway Kinnell was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He studied at Princeton University, where he roomed with W. S. Merwin. He did field work for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the 1960s, helping to register southern black voters. Twice a Fulbright Fellow, Kinnell has taught in universities from France to Iran, and for many years he directed the creative writing program at New York University. He received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1982 for hisSelected Poems....

    • Anne Sexton (1928–1974)
      (pp. 330-332)

      Anne sexton was born Anne Gray Harvey in Newton, Massachusetts, and began writing poetry, on the advice of her doctor, following her first suicide attempt in 1955. Two years later, she enrolled in a creative writing workshop at the Boston Center for Adult Education, where she befriended poet Maxine Kumin. Encouraged by the success she enjoyed in that class, she enrolled in a graduate creative writing course Robert Lowell taught at Boston University. It was in Lowell’s class that she met poets Sylvia Plath and George Starbuck.To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton’s first collection of poems, was published...

    • Geoffrey Hill (1932– )
      (pp. 333-335)

      English poet geoffrey hill was born in Worcestershire. He was educated at Oxford and began teaching in Leeds. He spent the 1980s as a teaching Fellow at Cambridge, and then moved to the United States, where he was for many years professor of literature and religion at Boston University. His many collections of poetry include his first book,For the Unfallen(1959), a volume ofSelected Poems(2006), andBroken Hierarchies: Poems 1952–2012(2013). HisCollected Critical Writingswon the 2009 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism. A fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the American...

    • Mark Strand (1934– )
      (pp. 335-339)

      Born on canada’s prince Edward Island, Mark Strand lived throughout the United States during his childhood and spent a good portion of his youth in South and Central America, following the movements of his father’s career in sales. He graduated from Antioch College in Ohio, and then studied painting at Yale University with Josef Albers, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree. He studied nineteenth-century poetry in Italy before completing a master’s degree at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Strand’s first collections of poetry,Sleeping with One Eye Open(1964) andReasons for Moving(1968), established his dark, slightly surreal...

    • Charles Wright (1935– )
      (pp. 339-342)

      Born in pickwick dam, Tennessee, Charles Wright was educated at Davidson College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He began to read and write poetry while stationed in Italy during his four years of service in the U.S. Army, and published his first collection of poems,The Grave of the Right Hand, in 1970. His second and third collections,Hard Freight(1973) andCountry Music: Selected Early Poems(1983), were both nominated for the National Book Award; the latter received the prize. Wright has published numerous collections of poems, includingSestets: Poems(2009);Scar Tissue(2007), which won the...

    • Charles Simic (1938– )
      (pp. 342-344)

      Dušan “charles” simić was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and survived World War II to emigrate with his mother and brother to America, where they joined his father in Chicago. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1961, shortly after publishing his first poems at the age of twenty-one. His first collection,What the Grass Says, was published in 1967. Since then, he has published more than sixty books of poetry and prose in English and in translation, includingThe World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems, for which he won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize. HisSelected Poems: 1963–2003won the...

    • Peter Cooley (1940– )
      (pp. 344-345)

      Peter cooley was born in Detroit, Michigan, into a family with no religious persuasion. He attended Cranbrook School for Boys but left after his junior year to attend Shimer College. While on his senior year in Paris he visited the Russian Orthodox Church with his White Russian émigré landlady and, after dabbling with Roman Catholicism, was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church. He received his M.A. in art and literature from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa, where he was a student in the Writers’ Workshop. He has published nine books...

    • Louise Glück (1943– )
      (pp. 345-348)

      Louise glück was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. The author of eleven books of poems, includingThe Wild Iris(1992),Meadowlands(1996),Averno(2006),A Village Life(2009), andPoems, 1962–2012(2012), and a collection of essays,Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry(1994), Glück was named the twelfth Poet Laureate of the United States in 2003. Glück’s many awards include the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at Yale University and lives...

    • Ira Sadoff (1945– )
      (pp. 348-349)

      Ira sadoff was born in Brooklyn and grew up in New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. Intending to become a lawyer, he graduated from Cornell as a sociology and psychology major, but then received an M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. “Orphans” is part of a metaphysical sequence in his collectionTrue Faith(2012). He has published seven collections of poems, a novel, and a critical book,History Matters: Contemporary Poetry on the Margins of Culture(2009).An Ira Sadoff Reader: Selected Poetry and Prosewas published in 1992. Former poetry editor of theAntioch Reviewand...

    • Jorie Graham (1950– )
      (pp. 349-352)

      Jorie graham was born in New York City, daughter of a journalist and a sculptor. She was raised in Rome, Italy, and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending New York University in filmmaking. She is the author of a number of collections of poetry, includingPlace(2012),Sea Change(2009),Overlord(2005), andNever(2003). Her volume of selected poems,The Dream of the Unified Field, won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. Recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Graham teaches at Harvard University....

    • Marie Howe (1950– )
      (pp. 352-353)

      Marie howe was born the oldest child of nine in Rochester, New York. She attended Sacred Heart Convent School and the University of Windsor, and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her first collection,The Good Thief(1988), was chosen for the National Poetry Series and received the Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Later works includeWhat the Living Do(1997), an elegiac response to her brother John’s death from an AIDS-related illness, andThe Kingdom of Ordinary Time(2008). She co-edited (with Michael Klein) the essay anthologyIn the Company of My Solitude: American...

    • James Galvin (1951– )
      (pp. 353-354)

      Born in chicago, illinois, James Galvin is the author of seven collections of poetry, includingAs Is(2009) andX(2003). He has also published a novel,Fencing the Sky(2000), and a book of nonfiction,The Meadow(1993). He is the recipient of awards from the Lannan Foundation, the Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop....

    • Mark Jarman (1952– )
      (pp. 354-355)

      Mark jarman was born in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. His childhood was divided between Scotland and Southern California, where his father served in churches. He earned a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1974 and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1976. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, includingBone Fires: New and Selected Poems(2011),Unholy Sonnets(2000), andQuestions for Ecclesiastes(1997), which won the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He has also published two books of essays,The Secret of Poetry(2001) andBody...

    • Alan Shapiro (1952– )
      (pp. 355-356)

      Alan shapiro grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, and attended Brandeis University. Now William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Shapiro has published eleven books of poetry, one novel, two memoirs, a book of critical essays, and translations ofThe Oresteiaby Aeschylus andThe Trojan Womenby Euripides. His honors include the Kingsley Tufts Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters....

    • Gjertrud Schnackenberg (1953– )
      (pp. 356-358)

      Born in tacoma, washington, Schnackenberg graduated from Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of six collections of poetry, includingHeavenly Questions(2010), which won the Griffin Prize in 2011. Other books includeThe Throne of Labdacus(2005),A Gilded Lapse of Time(1992), andThe Lamplit Answer(1985). She was awarded the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy in Rome and the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and received the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship in 1984. Schnackenberg...

    • Scott Cairns (1954– )
      (pp. 359-360)

      Born in tacoma, washington, Scott Cairns teaches at University of Missouri. His poems and essays have been anthologized in multiple editions ofBest American Spiritual Writing. His books includeCompass of Affection: Poems New and Selected(2007), the memoirShort Trip to the Edge(2006),Love’s Immensity(translations and adaptations of Christian mystics, 2007), and a book-length essay,The End of Suffering(2009). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. A convert to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Cairns wrote a spiritual memoir,Slow Pilgrim, that is being translated for a Greek edition....

    • Nicholas Samaras (1954– )
      (pp. 360-361)

      Nicholas samaras is of Greek origin. He was born in Foxton, Cambridgeshire, England, and brought back to his parental home on the Greek island of Patmos. He was raised and educated in Greece, England, Wales, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia, and Jerusalem. He has since lived in thirteen states in America, and he writes from a place of permanent exile. His father is a Greek Orthodox priest and he follows that denomination. His first book,Hands of the Saddlemaker(1992), earned the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His next book,American Psalm, World Psalm, will appear in 2014....

    • Lucie Brock-Broido (1956– )
      (pp. 361-362)

      Born in pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lucie Brock-Broido is the author of the poetry collectionsA Hunger(1988),The Master Letters(1994),Trouble in Mind(2004), andStay Illusion(2013). She served as editor of the posthumously collected poems of Thomas James,Letters to a Stranger(2008). She has been the recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where she directs the graduate program in poetry. She lives in New York City and in Cambridge,...

    • Amy Gerstler (1956– )
      (pp. 362-363)

      Amy gerstler was born in San Diego, California. Her most recent books of poetry includeDearest Creature(2009),Ghost Girl(2004), andMedicine(2000). Her collectionBitter Angelreceived a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1991. Her work has appeared in several volumes ofBest American Poetryand inThe Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. Of her spiritual background Gerstler has said, “I feel sympathetic connections to Buddhism, Sufism, animism, the Druse religion, Hinduism, Judaism, Catholicism, and many other ancient and contemporary world religions, especially those involving some form of reincarnation.”...

    • Jacqueline Osherow (1956– )
      (pp. 363-365)

      Jewish poet jacqueline Osherow was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Educated at Harvard-Radcliffe and Princeton, she has published six collections of poetry, includingDead Men’s Praise(1999),The Hoopoe’s Crown(2005), andWhitethorn(2011). Recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, she also received the Witter Bynner Prize. Osherow is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah....

    • Bruce Beasley (1958– )
      (pp. 365-369)

      Bruce beasley was born in Thomaston, Georgia, and raised in Macon, Georgia. He studied at Oberlin College, Columbia University, and the University of Virginia, and converted to Catholicism in 1983. He is the author of seven collections of poems, includingSummer Mystagogia(winner of the 1996 Colorado Prize),Lord Brain(2005),The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems(2007), and, most recently,Theophobia(2012). He is a professor of English at Western Washington University....

    • Michael Chitwood (1958– )
      (pp. 369-370)

      Born in rocky mount, Virginia, Michael Chitwood is a freelance writer. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the author of a number of books of poetry, short stories, and essays, includingSalt Works(1992),The Weave Room(1998),Finishing Touches(2006), andPoor-Mouth Jubilee(2010).Gospel Road Going, a collection of poems about his native Appalachia, was published in 2002. His collection of essays,Hitting Below the Bible Belt, appeared in 1998....

    • Jane Mead (1958– )
      (pp. 370-372)

      Jane mead was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Vassar College, Syracuse University, and the University of Iowa. Although she comes from generations of prominent scientists, men and women, she was raised with a worldview in which the wonders of science and the mysteries of religion were mutually confirming. Christened and brought up in the Unitarian Church, she still attends occasionally, and is spiritual and somewhat reclusive by nature. She is the author of four collections of poetry and the recipient of grants and awards from the Guggenheim, Lannan, and Whiting foundations. For many years Poet-in-Residence at Wake Forest University,...

    • Carl Phillips (1959– )
      (pp. 372-376)

      Carl phillips was born in Everett, Washington. Raised for much of his childhood on Air Force bases, he eventually settled in Massachusetts, attending Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, and teaching high school Latin for eight years. After the publication of his first book,In the Blood, in 1992, Phillips attended Boston University’s writing program, then left for Washington University in St. Louis, where he has taught since 1993. He is the author of twelve books of poetry, including the Kingsley Tufts Award–winningThe Tether(2001),Double Shadow(2011), andSilverchest(2013). He has also translated Sophocles’Philoctetes(2003),...

  13. PART EIGHT THE TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY DEVOTIONAL LYRIC
    • [PART EIGHT Introduction]
      (pp. 377-378)

      The devotional lyric is proving to be as relevant to early twenty-first-century poets as it was to their forebears. This is due in no small part to the fact that the devotional object, restored to its pre-Modern stability by the post-Modernists, remains firmly and dependably where the post-Modernists placed it: in a familiar, quasi-human sphere far enough removed from Augustine’s region of unlikeness to be approachable, yet near enough the unknowable to make the devotional gesture urgent as an action of discovery. And if twenty-first-century poets have accepted thus far the devotional object largely as it was given to them...

    • Peter Sirr (1960– )
      (pp. 379-380)

      Peter sirr was born in Waterford, Ireland, and lives in Dublin, where he works as a freelance writer and translator. His awards include the 1998 O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry and the 2011 Michael Hartnett Award for his collectionThe Thing Is(2009), which was also shortlisted for theIrish TimesAward. His other collections includeMarginal Zones(1984),Ways of Falling(1991),Selected Poems, andNonetheless(both 2004). His novel for children was published in 2013. He is a member of Ireland’s Academy of Artists, Aosdána. He is married to the poet and children’s writer Enda Wyley, and they have...

    • Leslie Harrison (1962– )
      (pp. 381-382)

      Leslie harrison was born in a small town in the former West Germany, and holds graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Irvine. Her first book,Displacement(2009), won the Bakeless Prize in Poetry. She was the Roth Resident in Poetry at Bucknell University in 2010, and received a 2011 literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Baltimore, where she teaches at Towson University....

    • Olena Kalytiak Davis (1963– )
      (pp. 382-383)

      Olena kalytiak davis was born in Detroit to Ukrainian Catholic immigrants who steeped her upbringing in that culture and religion. After attending the University of Michigan Law School, Davis relocated, first to California and then abroad, returning to pursue her literary vocation. She has lived in Alaska for most of the past twenty years. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Award and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, among other honors. Davis’s collections includeAnd Her Soul Out of Nothing(1997),shattered sonnets love cards and other off and back handed importunities(2003), andThe Poem She Didn’t Write and...

    • D. A. Powell (1963– )
      (pp. 383-384)

      American poet d. a. powell was born in Georgia and now lives in California. Much of Powell’s childhood was spent in the Bible Belt of the United States, and the King James Bible echoes throughout his work. His books includeChronic(2009, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award) andCocktails(2004), both finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry....

    • A. E. Stallings (1968– )
      (pp. 384-385)

      A. e. stallings grew up in Decatur, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia and Oxford University, and has lived since 1999 in Athens, Greece. She has published three collections of poetry,Archaic Smile(1999),Hapax(2006), andOlives(2012). She has also published a verse translation of Lucretius for Penguin Classics,The Nature of Things(2007). She is the recipient of a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and of fellowships from the Guggenheim, USA Artists, and MacArthur foundations. Stallings describes herself as the result of a mixed marriage (Southern Baptist and Episcopalian), was brought up...

    • G. C. Waldrep (1968– )
      (pp. 385-386)

      G. c. waldrep was born in South Boston, Virginia, and earned degrees in American history from Harvard and Duke universities before pursuing poetry. His collections includeGoldbeater’s Skin(2003), winner of the Colorado Prize;Archicembalo(2009), winner of the Dorset Prize; andYour Father on the Train of Ghosts(2011), a collaboration with John Gallaher. He co-editedHomage to Paul Celan(2011) with Ilya Kaminsky andThe Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral(2012) with Joshua Corey. Since 2007 he has taught at Bucknell University, where he also directs the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, edits the journalWest Branch,...

    • Kevin Prufer (1969– )
      (pp. 387-388)

      Kevin prufer was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and educated at Wesleyan University, Hollins University, and Washington University. He is the author of five books of poetry, includingFallen from a Chariot(2005),National Anthem(2008), andIn a Beautiful Country(2011). His bookChurcheswill appear in 2014. After teaching and editing for many years in west-central Missouri, he is now professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston....

    • C. Dale Young (1969– )
      (pp. 388-390)

      C. dale young grew up in south Florida. Raised in the Roman Catholic faith, he attended Catholic schools for most of his education. The author of three books of poetry—Torn(2011),The Second Person(2007), andThe Day Underneath the Day(2001)—he practices medicine full-time, edits poetry for theNew England Review, and teaches in the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program for Writers. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, he lives in San Francisco with his spouse, the classical music composer Jacob Bertrand....

    • Morri Creech (1970– )
      (pp. 390-392)

      Morri creech was born in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. He is the author of three collections of poetry,Paper Cathedrals(2001),Field Knowledge(2006), andThe Sleep of Reason(2013). A recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and Ruth Lilly Fellowships, as well as grants from the North Carolina and Louisiana Arts councils, he is the Writer in Residence at Queens University of Charlotte, in North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and two children....

    • Maurice Manning (1970– )
      (pp. 393-397)

      Maurice manning was born in Kentucky. His first book,Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions(2001), was selected by W. S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. His fourth book,The Common Man(2010), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent collection isThe Gone and the Going Away(2013). Manning teaches in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and at Transylvania University in Lexington. Manning received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011. He lives on a small farm in Washington County, Kentucky....

    • Paisley Rekdal (1970– )
      (pp. 397-398)

      Paisley rekdal is the author of a book of essays,The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee(2002); the hybrid photo-text memoirIntimate(2012); and four books of poetry, includingThe Invention of the Kaleidoscope(2007) andAnimal Eye(2012). Her honors include the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, and inclusion in theBest American Poetryseries....

    • Mary Szybist (1970– )
      (pp. 399-400)

      Mary szybist was born and grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where she attended mass at the Church of the Annunciation, which had Tiffany stained glass in her favorite window. She is the author ofGranted(2003), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, andIncarnadine(2013). Since 2004 she has taught at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon....

    • Kazim Ali (1971– )
      (pp. 400-401)

      Kazim ali was born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent. His books of poetry includeThe Far Mosque(2005),The Fortieth Day(2008),Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities(2012), andSky Ward(2013). He has also published novels, translations, and two collections of essays,Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence(2010) andFasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice(2011). Founding editor of Nightboat Books, he teaches at Oberlin College and in the Stonecoast M.F.A. program, and is a certified Jivamukti yoga instructor....

    • Josh Bell (1971– )
      (pp. 402-408)

      Josh bell was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin and in the M.F.A. program at Columbia University. He is currently Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in English at Harvard University. His first book isNo Planets Strike(2004)....

    • Katharine Jager (1971– )
      (pp. 408-409)

      Katharine jager was born in Evanston, Illinois, to a Quaker family. Raised within the Religious Society of Friends, she is a member of Northside Monthly Meeting, Illinois Yearly Meeting. She was educated at Grinnell College, and received an M.F.A. in poetry from New York University and a Ph.D. in English literature and medieval studies from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The Center for Book Arts and Red Dragon Fly Press have published her poems as broadsides. Jager regularly co-authors the Chaucer chapter forThe Year’s Work in English Studies. She teaches at the University of...

    • Brett Foster (1973– )
      (pp. 409-409)

      Brett foster was born in Wichita, Kansas, and grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri. After studying journalism and English at the University of Missouri, he completed graduate degrees in creative writing and English literature at Boston University and Yale University, and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Currently he teaches Renaissance literature and creative writing at Wheaton College, outside of Chicago, and attends All Souls’ Anglican Church. His volumes of poetry includeThe Garbage Eater(2011) andFall Run Road(2012)....

    • Matthea Harvey (1973– )
      (pp. 410-411)

      Matthea harvey was born in Germany. She is the author of four books of poetry—an illustrated erasure entitledOf Lamb, with images by Amy Jean Porter (2011),Modern Life(2007),Sad Little Breathing Machine(2004), andPity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form(2000). She is also the author of two books for children. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College....

    • Melissa Range (1973– )
      (pp. 412-413)

      Melissa range’s first book of poems,Horse and Rider(2010), won the 2010 Walt McDonald Prize in Poetry. Range is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the “Discovery”/The Nationprize. Originally from East Tennessee, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in English at the University of Missouri....

    • Jericho Brown (1975– )
      (pp. 413-414)

      Jericho brown grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, and worked as speechwriter to the mayor of New Orleans before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. Recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, Brown teaches at Emory University. His first book,Please(2008), won the American Book Award....

    • Malachi Black (1982– )
      (pp. 415-416)

      Malachi black was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and raised in Morris County, New Jersey. He is the author ofStorm Toward Morning, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, and two chapbooks:Quarantine(2012) andEcholocation(2010). He was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship in 2009. Since 1998, he has worked in various editorial capacities forThe New York Quarterly....

  14. Credits
    (pp. 417-422)
  15. Index
    (pp. 423-425)