Paul Engle


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Iowa poet and member of the faculty of the University of Iowa, whose American Song (1934) won acclaim as the heir of the tradition of Leaves of Grass, more because the poet aimed at Whitman's vitality and American quality than because he approached his achievement. While at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Engle wrote in similar verse Break the Heart's Anger (1936), protesting against American materialism. In Corn (1939) his thought and technique became more controlled, and he was content to express aspects of the simple life of Iowa farmers, while West of Midnight (1941), celebrating the “light in American sky” while Europe was blacked out, contains poems in his early manner as well as brief, taut lyrics. American Child (1945) is a sonnet sequence about his daughter, enlarged (1956) upon the birth of another daughter; and other lyrics appeared in The Word of Love (1951), Poems in Praise (1959), A Prairie Christmas (1960), A Woman Unashamed (1965), and Embraced (1969). Always the Land (1941) is a novel about conflicts between two generations of Iowa farmers, and Golden Child (1962) is a prose tale of Christmas, originally a libretto for a television opera.

Subjects: Literature.

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