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 Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Birth
Head Tide, Lincoln County, Maine, USA
Death 6 Apr 1935 (aged 65)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, USA
Plot Lot 508
Memorial ID 881 · View Source
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Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet. His family moved to Gardiner, Maine, in 1870, shortly after he was born. His parents had wanted a girl when he was born and so he remained unnamed until he was six months old when his family visited a holiday resort and the other vacationers decided that he should have a name, and chose a man from Arlington, Massachusetts to draw a name out of a hat. He described his childhood as "stark and unhappy" and his young adult years were plagued with tragedy with the death of a brother from a drug overdose and with his older brother marrying the woman that he was in love with, who soon suffered business failures and ended up estranged from his wife and children, dying penniless in a charity hospital. He entered Harvard University at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1891 as a special student. He was not a scholarly student and was content to receive passing grades. His ultimate goal was to get his poems published in one of the Harvard literary journals and shortly after enrolling, his poem "Ballade of a Ship" was published in The Harvard Advocate. His father died after his first year at Harvard and even though he returned for his second year, he decided to return home in mid-1893 and begin writing seriously. He attempted farming and developed a close relationship with his older brother's wife, who had moved to Gardiner with her children after her husband's death. She rejected marriage proposals from him twice and he soon left home and moved to New York where he led a precarious existence as an impoverished poet while befriending other artists, writers, and would-be-intellectuals who were living under the same circumstances. In 1896, he self-published his first book, "The Torrent and the Night Before," paying 100 dollars for 500 copies, which he meant as a surprise for his mother. However, she died of diphtheria before the copies arrived. His second book, "The Children of the Night," was more widely read, including President Theodore Roosevelt's son Kermit, who recommended it to his father. Impressed by his poems and aware of his financial condition, Roosevelt secured a job for him in 1905 at the New York Customs Office. A condition of his employment was that, in exchange for his desk and two thousand dollars a year, he should work "with a view to helping American letters" rather than collecting money for the US Treasury. He remained in that position until Roosevelt left office in 1909. Over the next 20 years, his literary successes began to accumulate. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1922 for his first "Collected Poems," in 1925 for "The Man Who Died Twice," and again in 1928 for "Tristram." His other poetic works include "Captain Craig and Other Poems" (1902), "The Town Down the River" (1910), "The Man Against the Sky" (1916), "Merlin" (1917), "The Three Taverns" (1920), "Avon's Harvest" (1921), "Dionysus in Doubt" (1925), "Fortunatus" (1928), "Sonnets 1889-1917" (1928), "Cavender's House" (1929), "Modred" (1929), "The Glory of the Nightingales' (1930), "Matthias at the Door" (1931), "Selected Poems" (1931), "Talifer" (1933), "Amaranth' (1934), "King Jasper" (1935), and "Collected Poems" (1937, published after his death). He also wrote two plays, "Van Zorn" (1914), and "The Porcupine" (1915). He maintained a solitary life and never married, and died of cancer in New York City.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 881
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edwin Arlington Robinson (22 Dec 1869–6 Apr 1935), Find A Grave Memorial no. 881, citing Oak Grove Cemetery, Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .