Marianne Moore

Poet

Born: 15 November 1887
Died: 5 February 1972
Birthplace: Kirkwood, Missouri
Best known as: Tricorn hat-wearing modernist poet
Marianne Craig Moore was an American modernist poet who won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her 1951 edition of Collected Poems. Raised in Pennsylvania and a 1909 graduate of Bryn Mawr, Moore moved with her mother to New York and was associated with Brooklyn and Manhattan throughout her career. As a "poet's poet" and editor of the influential literary journal The Dial (1925-29), Moore associated with luminaries such as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. Her own poems were mildly eccentric musings on animals and objects, and for many years she earned praise from other poets but not much popular success. She became a household name in the 1950s, thanks to her prize-winning poems and a whimsical public persona -- she posed for magazine covers in her trademark tricorn hat and cape and wrote popular poems celebrating baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Moore was famous for reworking poems and themes; her best-known poem, "Poetry," was ultimately revised to consist of three lines: "I, too, dislike it. / Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in / it, after all, a place for the genuine." She also famously referred to poetry as "imaginary gardens with real toads in them." Her books include Selected Poems (1935, with an introduction by T.S. Eliot ) and The Complete Poems (1967).
Extra credit: Other 20th-century poets include Sylvia Plath, Denise Levertov and Anne Sexton.

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