Louis Simpson (Louis Aston Marantz Simpson) Biography
(1923– ), (Louis Aston Marantz Simpson), The Arrivistes, A Dream of Governors
Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Seven Against Thebes (Hepta epi Thēbas; Septem contra Thebas) to Sir Walter Scott and Scotland
American poet, born in Kingston, Jamaica; from 1940 onward he lived in the USA where he was educated at Columbia University. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1959 to 1967, when he became Professor of English at the State University of New York. His early collections of verse, which include The Arrivistes (1949) and A Dream of Governors (1959), made accomplished use of conventional verse forms to frame their incisive meditations on a wide range of social and cultural themes. He has been widely recognized as a poet of importance since At the End of the Open Road (1963; Pulitzer Prize); its disquietingly bleak survey of American values made highly imaginative use of imagery drawn from close observation and displayed marked individuality of tone through a disciplined freedom of technique. His numerous subsequent volumes include Adventures of the Letter I (1971), Caviare at the Funeral (1981), Collected Poems (1988), and In the Room We Share (1990). His best work is characterized by the impressive plainness of manner with which its profound lyrical and elegiac effects are achieved. Among his critical works are Three on a Tower (1975), studies of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams, and the collected essays of A Company of Poets (1981). His other publications include the novel Riverside Drive (1962), which reflects his early experiences of New York, and the autobiographical works Air with Armed Men (1972) and The King My Father's Wreck (1994).
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