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Richard Howard Biography

(1929– ), Quantities, Damages, Untitled Subjects, Findings, Two-Part Inventions, Fellow Feelings, Misgivings, Lining Up

American poet and translator, born in Cleveland, Ohio, educated at Columbia University and the Sorbonne. After working as a lexicographer, he became a freelance translator and critic in 1958; in 1988 he became Rhodes Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati. Quantities (1962) and Damages (1967), his first two collections of poetry, displayed his characteristic virtuosity in finely regulated discursive forms. Untitled Subjects (1969; Pulitzer Prize) established the dramatic monologue as the dominant mode of his verse; poems in the voices of writers and artists, among them Goethe, Browning, Wilde, Ibsen, Auden, and Rodin, form the most consistently impressive work in Findings (1971), Two-Part Inventions (1974), and Fellow Feelings (1976). His later collections, in which an increasingly rich imaginative dimension is evident, include Misgivings (1979), Lining Up (1984), No Traveller (1989), and Like Most Revelations (1994). Howard's poems are frequently written in strict syllabic forms of great precision and elegance. He is the translator of over 150 works of literature, chiefly from the French, and is credited with introducing much modern French fiction to an American readership. His other publications include Alone With America: Essays on the Art of Poetry in the United States Since 1950 (1969).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Honest Ulsterman to Douglas Hyde Biography