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Robinson, Edwin Arlington.

Robinson, Edwin Arlington

(1869 - 1935) American poet. Robinson is known for his long narrative poems and objective psychological portraits of New England characters, usually written in blank verse, and for his creation of Tilbury Town, whose prototype was Gardiner, Maine, where he spent his boyhood. Robinson privately printed three hundred copies of The Torrent and the Night Before (1896), his first book of poems, and, encouraged by the warmth of its critical reception, determined to make a career of writing. Published the following year with some changes, as The Children of the Night, the volume contained several of what were to become Robinson's best - known poems, among them " Luke Havergal, " " Richard Corey, " and " Two Men. " The poet moved to New York, and worked at various uncongenial occupations, hounded by poverty and depression. After the publication of Captain Craig (1902), Theodore Roosevelt, impressed by his work, secured a position in the New York City custom house for him. In 1910 The Town Down the River, which included " Miniver Cheevy, " appeared, and thereafter Robinson earned his living by writing, spending his summers at the MacDowell Colony in Peterboro, New Hampshire. With the publication of The Man against the Sky his reputation was firmly established. Although there are long narratives and dramatic monologues among them, the majority of the poems in these collections are short lyrics and character sketches.

Robinson's Collected Poems (1921) won the first Pulitzer Prize to be awarded for poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize again in 1925 for The Man Who Died Twice (1924) and in 1928 for Tristram (1927). This long poem, which followed Merlin (1917) and Lancelot (1920), was the final volume of Robinson 's Arthurian trilogy, and had a very considerable popular success.

Despite the irony and pessimism of his work, Robinson is usually considered 19th century in tone. His poetry forms an important bridge from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to the truly modern poets of the 20th century.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
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