Love is in the air, friends. Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day enthusiast or cynic, we hope you’ll join us today in a poetry lovefest for our four Laureates born in February:
Elizabeth Bishop was born on February 8, 1911, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She was the 8th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1945-1950. She is the author of nine poetry collections, including North & South/A Cold Spring (1955), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; The Complete Poems (1969), winner of the National Book Award; and Geography III (1976), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bishop taught at Harvard University for seven years. She died in 1979.
Howard Nemerov was born on February 29 (a Leap Year Baby!), 1920, in New York City. He was the 15th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1963-1964. He is the author of 21 poetry collections, including The Image and the Law (1947) and The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (1977), which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize. Throughout World War II, he served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian unit of the U.S. Army Air Force, eventually earning the rank of first lieutenant. From 1946-1948 he taught literature to World War II veterans at Hamilton College in New York. For a little more than 40 years he continued his teaching career at Bennington College, Brandeis University, and Washington University in St. Louis where he was the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of English and Distinguished Poet in Residence for over 20 years. He died in 1991.
Stephen Spender was born on February 28, 1909, in London. He was the 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1965-1966. He is the author of 23 poetry collections, including Twenty Poems (1930), The Still Centre (1939) and The Generous Days (1971). Spender was knighted in 1983 and received the Golden PEN Award in 1995. He was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Stephen Spender died in 1995.
James Dickey was born on February 2, 1923, in Buckhead, Georgia. He was the 18th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1966-1968. He is the author of more than 25 poetry collections, including Into the Stone and Other Poems (1960), Helmets (1964), and Buckdancer’s Choice (1965), which won a Melville Cane Award from the Poetry Society of America and a National Book Award. He held several teaching positions at Rice University and the University of Florida, and served as poet-in-residence and professor of English at the University of South Carolina in 1960. James Dickey died in 1997.