Robert Hillyer (Robert Silliman Hillyer) Biography
(1895–1961), (Robert Silliman Hillyer), Sonnets and Other Lyrics, The Five Books of Youth
American poet, born in East Orange, New Jersey, educated at Harvard, where he taught from 1919 until his retirement as a professor in 1945. Sonnets and Other Lyrics (1917) and The Five Books of Youth (1920), his first two collections of verse, demonstrated the fluent accomplishment in traditional forms which characterizes his poetry. Arthur Machen's introduction to The Halt in the Garden (1925) emphasized the neoplatonism central to Hillyer's aesthetic and philosophical preoccupation with beauty and transience. His numerous subsequent collections include In Time of Mistrust (1939), The Death of Captain Nemo (1949), a lengthy narrative poem, and The Relic (1957); Collected Verse (1933; Pulitzer Prize) was superseded by Collected Poems (1961). Hillyer's richly lyrical rural imagery and nostalgic sensibility give his verse affinities with typifying examples of Georgian poetry. Among his other works are the novel My Heart for Hostage (1942), a semi-autobiographical evocation of Paris after the First World War, and the critical studies First Principles of Verse (1938) and In Pursuit of Poetry (1960).