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Donald Justice (Donald Rodney Justice) Biography

(1925–2004), (Donald Rodney Justice), The Summer Anniversaries, Night Light, Departures, Selected Poems, The Sunset Maker

American poet, born in Miami, Florida, educated at the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina, Stanford University, California, and the University of Iowa. From 1955 onward he held a succession of senior posts at various American universities and became Professor of English at the University of Florida, Gainsville, in 1982. The Summer Anniversaries (1960), his first collection of verse, established him as a poet of unostentatious virtuosity. Night Light (1967) and Departures (1973) displayed an increasing technical flexibility, which extended in the latter volume to experimentation with random methods of composition. Selected Poems (1979; Pulitzer Prize) confirmed his stature. The Sunset Maker (1987) contains a memoir of childhood and two short stories in addition to a substantial body of previously uncollected poems; the wryly elegiac confrontation with personal and cultural desolation which pervades much of his work is especially effective in the poems concerning a fictive protagonist named ‘Tremayne’. In its detached habituation to a nearly tolerable despair, his poetry sometimes recalls that of Weldon Kees, whose Collected Poems (1960, revised edition 1975) Justice edited. A Donald Justice Reader (1991) is a selection of poetry and prose.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Tama Janowitz Biography to P(atrick) J(oseph Gregory) Kavanagh Biography