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Anthony Hecht (Anthony Evan Hecht) Biography

(1923–2004), (Anthony Evan Hecht), A Summoning of Stones, The Seven Deadly Sins, A Bestiary

American poet, born in New York, educated at Bard College and Columbia University. Having held a succession of posts at various American universities, including Kenyon College, where he worked with John Crowe Ransom, he became Professor of Poetry and Rhetoric at Rochester University in 1967. His early collections of poetry, which display his considerable accomplishment in traditional verse forms, include A Summoning of Stones (1954), The Seven Deadly Sins (1958), and A Bestiary (1962). The ornate intricacy of many of the poems in these books was superseded by the plainer and more immediate manner characteristic of much of the best work in The Hard Hours (1967; Pulitzer Prize), Millions of Strange Shadows (1977), and The Venetian Vespers (1979). The poems these volumes contain range from precisely observed anecdotal treatments to the philosophically encompassing title sequence of Venetian Vespers, which forms the culmination of the historical, cultural, and metaphysical preoccupations of his preceding work. Hecht published no further collections of poetry until The Transparent Man (1990), in which the long poem ‘See Naples and Die’ is a self-revealing companion piece to the stoically pessimistic vision of ‘Venetian Vespers’. Collected Earlier Poems also appeared in 1990. His literary criticism is principally represented by the essays collected in Obbligati (1986), and The Hidden Law: The Poetry of W. H. Auden (1993). Among his numerous works as a translator are his version of Voltaire's Poem upon the Lisbon Disaster (1977) and the translations of poems by Joseph Brodsky in The Venetian Vespers. See also confessional poetry.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: William Hart-Smith Biography to Sir John [Frederick William] Herschel Biography