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Paul Blackburn Biography

(1926–71), Nation, The Dissolving Fabric, Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit, The Nets, Black Mountain Review, The Cities

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Bible in English to [Thomas] Edward Bond Biography

American poet, born in St Albans, Vermont, educated at New York University and the University of Wisconsin. He was poetry editor of the Nation in 1962 and subsequently held various appointments as a writer-in-residence before becoming a lecturer at the City College of New York in 1968. His earlier collections of verse include The Dissolving Fabric (1955), Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (1960), and The Nets (1961). Blackburn's open poetic forms and experimentally dispersed typographical effects indicated his affinities with the group of poets associated with Black Mountain College, in whose Black Mountain Review his work appeared. The Cities (1967) gained him a wider readership through its skilfully precise evocations of the numinous aspects of everyday phenomena. His ability to imbue a sometimes disturbing directness of manner with unobtrusive suggestions of traditional lyric modes is among the most impressive qualities of his poetry. Among his numerous further publications are In, On, or About the Premises (1968), Halfway Down the Coast (1975), and The Journals (1975), a record in poetry and prose of his last years. Collected Poems (1985) is edited by E. Jarolim. His works as a translator include Proensa (1953), his highly regarded versions of Provençal lyrics, and Hunk of Skin (1968), his translations of poems by Pablo Picasso.

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