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This A Biographical Essay On William De Witt Snodgrass. It Contains Historical Background, As Well As Discussion Of An Assortment Of His Works, And What Influenced Him As A Writer And Poet.

2117 words - 8 pages

Mr. WD Snodgrass William DeWitt Snodgrass was born in the rural town of Wilkinson, Pennsylvania on January 5th 1926. WD as he would later be known, was an intelligent man with showings of great promise. He began his formal education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and after demobilization from the Pacific during World War II he transferred from Geneva to the University of Iowa. It was here that he would meet some of the most influential people of his life. The University of Iowa offered something that Geneva College did not at the time: a writer's workshop. WD quickly enrolled in the program once he was at the University. This writing workshop quickly proved to be one of the most important decisions of his life. The likes of Robert Lowell, John Berryman, and Randall Jarrett had established the workshop as one of the greatest if not the greatest of the time and their tutelage helped WD establish himself as a poet. (BTL) Snodgrass and his contemporaries utilized personal reflection within their work. His early works consisted of reflections on his divorce, betrayal, and the other "purgatories of life"(CAP). He was very much tired of the obscure symbolic poetry of his predecessors, and wanted to illuminate the struggles of everyday life while appealing to the common man. His early poetry as a rule reflected these struggles, although his later poetry took on a completely different type of focus. This later work was more in the style of dramatic monologue than the poetic verse he used previously. It was 1951 when WD's poetry began to be noticed. Poems began to grow in popularity through the literary medium of the magazine. Throughout the 1950's his poems were reprinted in popular publications such as "The New Yorker", "The Partisan Review", "The Paris Review" and "The Hudson Review. It was not until 1957 that WD developed the start of his reputation with the printing of the opening five sections of "Hearts Needle" in New Poets of England and America by Hall, Pack, and Simpson.(BTL) "Heart's Needle" quickly became one of his most celebrated works, with its publication in 1959 and winning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1960. In 1977, he became nominated for another major book prize as his "Fuhrer Bunker" was up for the National Book Critic's Circle Award for Poetry. This work was later produced for the American Place Theater. (Acad.) In 1994, Snodgrass retired as Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. He had previously taught at a plethora of institutions including Cornell, University of Rochester, Wayne State, and a brief stint at Syracuse University. The personal life of WD Snodgrass has been anything but perfect however. After the failure of his first marriage he remarried three more times and is now living with his "fourth, best and last wife" writer Kathleen Brown Snodgrass.(BTL) His...

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