Library of Congress

Site Title Here

The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Current Poet Laureate > Past Poets Laureate: 1981-1990
{ site_name: 'Poetry', subscribe_url:'/share/sites/Bapu4ruC/poetry.php' }

1981-1982

Maxine Kumin

Maxine Kumin

Kumin (1925- ), born and raised in Philadelphia, received a bachelor's degree in 1946 and a master's in 1948 from Radcliffe College. Her poetry themes include family relationships, rural life in New England and the inner life of women. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for "Up Country: Poems of New England." The mother of three children, she published 11 books of poetry, taught for several years at Tufts and served as poet in residence at many colleges and universities. She and her husband raised horses on their farm in New Hampshire.

1982-1984

Anthony Hecht

Anthony Hecht

Hecht (1923-2004), born in New York City, graduated from Bard College in 1944. He served in the Army, saw a lot of combat and witnessed the liberation of the Flossenburg concentration camp, an event that affected him deeply. While Hecht wrote formal verse expressing dark observations of mankind, he also wrote lyrical evocations of love and, in the 1950s, he invented a humorous poetic form similar to a limerick called the double dactyl. "The Hard Hours" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1968. He received the Bollingen Prize in 1983, and taught at the University of Rochester and Georgetown.

1984-1985

Robert Fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald (1910-1985) served as Consultant in Poetry in a health-limited capacity. He arranged several programs, but did not come to the Library. Fitzgerald grew up in Springfield, Ill., and received a bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1933. He is best known as a translator of ancient Greek and Latin. He also worked as a journalist and an educator.

1984-1985

Reed Whittemore

Reed Whittemore

Whittemore (1919-2012), who previously served as Consultant in Poetry in 1964-65, served an interim appointment to assist the ailing Fitzgerald.

 

1985-1986

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks

Brooks (1917-2000) was born in Topeka, Kansas, and raised in Chicago, where she spent most of her life. She was interested in poetry from an early age and published her first poem in American Childhood Magazine at 13. Starting in 1934, she joined the Chicago Defender, an African-American newspaper, and published nearly 100 poems in a weekly poetry column. Her second book of poems, "Annie Allen," won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize, making Brooks the first African-American recipient of the Pulitzer. She received many poetry awards and honors, and actively brought poetry classes and contests to young people in the inner city.

1986-1987

Robert Penn Warren

Robert Penn Warren

Warren (1905-1989), who served as Consultant in Poetry from 1944-45, became the first to be designated Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

 

1987-1988

Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur

Wilbur (1921- ), born in New York City in 1921, earned a bachelor's from Amherst in 1942 and a master's from Harvard in 1947. He served in the U.S. Army as a cryptographer in World War II. His book of poetry, "Things of This World," won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize. He won a second Pulitzer in 1989 for "New and Collected Poems." Wilbur won many awards and honors, including the Bollingen Prize, the Robert Frost Medal and the Shelley Memorial Award. He taught at Harvard, Wesleyan University and Smith College.

Top