Marianne Moore's Life
Marianne Moore was born on November 15, 1887 in Kirkwood, Missouri. Her father, who was an engineer, suffered a mental breakdown before her birth and was hospitalized before she could meet him. Moore lived with her mother, her brother, and her grandfather in Missouri until her grandfather’s death in 1894. Moore’s mother moved the family briefly to Pittsburgh and then to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Moore attended Metzger Institute through high school and then enrolled at Bryn Mawr College in 1905. At Bryn Mawr Moore she published poems in two of the school’s literary magazines: Tipyn O’Bob and the Lantern. She majored in history, law, and politics, and graduated in 1909. After graduating Moore took secretarial courses at Carlisle Commercial College and then taught bookkeeping, stenography, typing, commercial English, and law. [i]
In 1915 Moore began to publish poems professionally. Moore first published seven poems in the Egoist, which was a London magazine edited by Hilda Doolittle. Four poems were published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. Five of her poems were published in Others. In 1916 Moore moved with her mother to Chatham, New Jersey, to live with her brother, who was a Presbyterian minister. When he joined the Navy in 1918 Moore and her mother moved to Manhattan. It was at this time that she became friendly with other artists such as Alfred Kreymborg, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, poets Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. H.D., T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound also esteemed her. In 1920 Moore’s work began to appear in the distinguished pro-modernist magazine, the Dial. From 1921 until 1925 Moore worked as an assistant in the Hudson Park branch of the New York Public Library. [ii]
In 1925 Moore took over as editor of the Dial until its last issue in 1929. Also in 1929 Moore and her mother moved to Brooklyn, where Moore remained, even after her mother’s death in 1947, until she moved back to Manhattan in 1966. In 1933 Moore was awarded the Helen Haire Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine, which gained her national attention. Moore continued to write poetry and critical essays, won several awards, and attracted public recognition. During the 1950’s and the 1960’s Moore wrote steadily and emerged as a semi-celebrity. Her distinctive tricorn hat and black cape were her personal trademarks at public events. She was featured in Life magazine, the New York Times, and the New Yorker. In 1968 she even threw the opening pitch to open the baseball season at Yankee Stadium. In 1968 Moore suffered several strokes, was semi-invalid for almost two years, and finally died in 1972. [iii]
Marianne Moore published many collections of poetry of which included: Poems (1921), Observations (1924), Selected Poems (1935), The Pangolin and Other Verse (1936), What are Years? (1941), Nevertheless (1944), Collected Poems (1951), Like a Bulwark (1956), O to...