W. D. Snodgrass (William De Witt Snodgrass Biography
(1926– ), (William De Witt Snodgrass, Heart's Needle, After Experience: Poems and Translations
American poet, born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, educated at the University of Iowa, where he studied with Robert Lowell in the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Snodgrass achieved immense success with his first book of poems, Heart's Needle (1959; Pulitzer Prize), which established his reputation as a leading Confessional poet. The poems in the sequence entitled ‘Heart's Needle’ were addressed to and are about his daughter Cynthia, the child he lost with the collapse of his first marriage. The controlled lyric gravity of these poems reflects the intensity of his loss, while America's engagement in the Korean War provides a broader metaphorical frame and a focus on contemporary political events; the ‘cold war’ of the military campaign is seen as a public echo of the desolation of his private landscape, pictured through the frozen wastes of his marriage. His other collections include After Experience: Poems and Translations (1968), The Fuhrer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress (1977), Six Minnesinger Songs (1983), and Selected Poems 1957–1987 (1987). In Radical Pursuit (1975) is a collection of his essays on poetry.