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A. R. Ammons (Archie Randolph Ammons) Biography

(1926–2001), (Archie Randolph Ammons), Ommateum, with Doxology, Expressions at Sea Level, Corson's Inlet

verse poems poem selected

American poet, born in Whiteville, North Carolina, educated at the University of California at Berkeley. After twelve years as an executive with a glass manufacturing company, in 1964 he began his academic career at Cornell University, where he became Goldwin Smith Professor of English in 1973. The examples of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams informed the ambitiously inclusive thematic and descriptive scope of his first book of verse, Ommateum, with Doxology (1955). Expressions at Sea Level (1964) and Corson's Inlet (1965) gained him wide recognition and established the disciplined informality of tone and finely cadenced exploratory verse forms characteristic of his work. The title poem of the latter volume is among his best-known works, richly demonstrating the meditative interactions between natural phenomena and the individual consciousness which are central to much of his poetry. The highly discursive verse-journal Tape for the Turn of the Year (1965) emphasized his interest in experimentation, its sinuously extended form determined by the decision to compose the poem on a narrow roll of adding-machine paper. Ammons has continued to divide his achievement between long, thematically mobile sequences and shorter lyric treatments in his numerous subsequent books, which include Sphere: The Form of Motion (1974), Six-Piece Suite (1979), Selected Longer Poems (1980), Lake Effect Country (1983), Sumerian Vistas (1987), Really Short Poems (1991), and Garbage (1994); Selected Poems (1986) is a representative edition of his verse.

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