Laura Riding Biography
(1901–91), Fugitive, A Survey of Modern Poetry, Contemporaries and Snobs, Anarchism Is not Enough
American poet, born in New York, educated at Cornell University. She first attracted notice as a poet through her association with J. C. Ransom and other contributors to the Fugitive (1922–5; see Agrarians, The), in which her verse repeatedly appeared. From 1925 to 1939 she lived with Robert Graves, with whom she produced the seminal critical work A Survey of Modern Poetry (1927). Contemporaries and Snobs (1928) and Anarchism Is not Enough (1928) are the best-known of her other critical works. The Hogarth Press published The Close Chaplet (1926), her first collection of verse; subsequent volumes include Love as Love, Death as Death (1928), Poet: A Lying Word (1933), and The Second Leaf (1935). Her poetry is remarkable for the suppleness of its verse forms and its tendency to combine lyrical simplicity with intellectually complex meditations. Collected Poems (1938) effectively marked the end of her career as a poet. The reasons for her renunciation of poetry, which centre on her belief in its inadequacy as a medium for truth, are discussed in prefaces to Selected Poems (1973) and The Poems of Laura Riding (1980). Among her other publications are Lives of Wives (1939), a collection of biographical fictions, and The Telling (1973), and exposition of her philosophy. Posthumous publications of her works include First Awakenings: The Early Poems of Laura Riding (1992) and A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding (1994). A biography, In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding, by Deborah Baker, appeared in 1993.