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James Schuyler Biography

(1923–91), Art News, Salute, May 24th or So, Freely Espousing, The Crystal Lithium

poems art spent life

American poet and novelist, born in Chicago, educated at Bethany College, West Virginia. Schuyler lived in Italy for some years, but spent much of his life in New York working for the Museum of Modern Art and, like other members of the New York School such as John Ashbey and Frank O'Hara, wrote for Art News and other art journals. His books of poems include Salute (1960), May 24th or So (1966), Freely Espousing (1969), The Crystal Lithium (1972), Hymn to Life: Poems (1974), The Morning of the Poet (1980; Pulitzer Prize), and Selected Poems (1988). His novels include Alfred and Guinevere (1958), Nest of Ninnies (1969), written with John Ashbery, and What's for Dinner (1979). Schuyler's poetry is resonant with a lifetime spent working with and writing about pictures, and it is a pictorialist's eye which he turned on the world. His poems are filled with the apparently casual iconography thrown up by urban and pastoral scenes though these visual signs of the outer world were usually accommodated to some reflective purpose, arrived at in a mood of quiet acceptance.

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