Louis Simpson

(b. 1923)

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born in Jamaica, received his B.S. from Columbia (1948) after service in an airborne division in World War II. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia and has taught at the University of California, Berkeley (1959–67), and the State University of New York, Stony Brook (1967–). His poetry, marked by vivid imagination and fine craftsmanship, has been published in The Arrivistes (1949); Good News of Death (1955); A Dream of Governors (1959), including the long narrative poem “The Runner,” set in the invasion of Europe in World War II; At the End of the Open Road (1963, Pulitzer Prize), including the long poem “The Marriage of Pocahontas,” developing history into myth; Selected Poems (1965); Adventures of the Letter I (1971); Searching for the Ox (1976); Caviare at the Funeral (1980), People Live Here (1983), selected poems since 1949, and The Best Hour of the Night (1984). He has also written a novel, Riverside Drive (1962), about a young man from Jamaica, his experiences in New York and the army, and his private life; an autobiography, North of Jamaica (1972); and critical works, James Hogg (1962), Three on a Tower (1975), about Pound, Eliot, and W. C. Williams, A Revolution in Taste (1979), about Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Lowell, poets who “created art out of the confusion of their lives,” and A Company of Poets (1981), essays, reviews, talks, and autobiography.

Subjects: Literature.

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