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Selected Poetry of Louise Bogan (1897-1970)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

What she has gathered, and what lost,
She will not find to lose again.
She is possessed by time, who once
Was loved by men.
        (Portrait)
  1. Epitaph for a Romantic Woman
  2. Medusa
  3. Portrait
  4. A Tale
  5. Women


Notes on Life and Works

Louise Bogan was born in Livermore, Maine, August 11, 1897, and was educated at the Girls' Latin High School and Boston University, which she left without taking a degree. Her first marriage, to Curt Alexander, an army officer, in 1916, was effectively over by 1918. Their daughter Maidie was born Oct. 19, 1917, but was raised by Bogan's parents. Alexander died in 1920. In 1923, a year after she received the first of three Guggenheim fellowships (1922, 1933, 1937), her first book of poetry, Body of this Death: Poems, came out. She married poet Raymond Holden in 1925. This was followed by her second book, Dark Summer: Poems, in 1929. Bogan endured bouts of mental illness from 1931 on, the year that The New Yorker hired her as poetry editor, a post she carried out impeccably for 38 years, until 1969. Her third book of poems, The Sleeping Fury, was published in 1937, the year she divorced Holden. This book reflected her experience with love, which grew to include an affair with the American poet, Theodore Roethke. She became Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress in 1945-46 and enjoyed increasing recognition for her writing. She won the John Reed Memorial Prize from Poetry in 1930, the Harriet Monroe Award in 1948, and a share of the Bollingen Prize in 1955. Bogan was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1952 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1969. She taught at Arkansas, Brandeis, Chicago, and Washington universities, her first critical work, Achievement in American poetry, 1900-1950, having come out in 1951. Her Collected Poems appeared in 1941, but she made her own selection in The Blue Estuaries: Poems, 1923-1968 in 1968. She also translated literature from French and German late in life. She died of a heart attack on February 4, 1970.

For additional information on her life and works, see

Biographical information

Given name: Louise
Family name: Bogan
Birth date: 1897
Death date: 1970