Mark Strand Biography
(1934– ), Sleeping with One Eye Open, Reasons for Moving, Darker, The Story of Our Lives
American poet, born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, educated at Antioch College, Ohio, and Yale Art School. He has taught at Iowa, Yale, Brandeis, and Columbia Universities and became a writer-in-residence at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. His poetry collections include Sleeping with One Eye Open (1964), Reasons for Moving (1968), Darker (1970), The Story of Our Lives (1973), The Late Hour (1978), Selected Poems (1980), Rembrandt Takes a Walk (1987), and Dark Habor: A Poem (1993); Mr and Mrs Baby (1985) is a collection of short stories and The Monument (1978) a collection of assorted prose pieces. Strand is an active advocate of the work of other poets and has edited The Contemporary American Poets: American Poetry Since 1940 (1969), New Poetry of Mexico (1970), and, with Charles Simic, Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers (1976), as well as translating the work of his contemporaries, notably in The Owl's Insomnia: Selected Poems of Rafel Alberti (1973) and Souvenir of the Ancient World: Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1976). Strand's verse is characterized by its deceptive simplicity, its cultivated antiromanticism and its affinities with American abstract painting, and he shares with many of his contemporaries an interest in magic, his verse sometimes slipping effortlessly from the real to the surreal and spiritual (a characteristic which suggests the influence of Latin American writers). One of his finest works is the frequently anthologized ‘Elegy for My Father’, a poem which employs chanted litanies in its reengagement with, and recreation of, childhood experience. He is a regular contributor of poetry to the New Yorker and during 1990–1 was the US Poet Laureate.