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Short poem

Selected Poetry of H. D. (Hilda Doolittle; 1886-1961)

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

Greece sees unmoved,
God's daughter, born of love,
the beauty of cool feet
and slenderest knees,
could love indeed the maid,
only if she were laid,
white ash amid funereal cypresses.
        (Helen, 12-18)
  1. Cassandra
  2. Cities
  3. Helen
  4. Leda
  5. Oread
  6. The Pool
  7. Sea Poppies
  8. Sea Rose
  9. Sheltered Garden
  10. Wash of Cold River

Notes on Life and Works

Born September 10, 1886, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Hilda Doolittle wrote poetry, plays, fiction, and speculative prose, and experimented in film. She was educated at the Moravian Girls' Seminary and the Friends' Central School, where she was a keen classicist and basketball player in her youth, being tall (5 feet, 11 inches). She entered Bryn Mawr in 1905, which was successful for its friendships with Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound (with whom she was engaged briefly), but less so for her academic work, and she left after a year. She took ship for Europe in 1911, not to return to America, except for visits. In London Ezra Pound, after reading drafts of her early poems, suggested a literary identity for her, "H.D.," and inducted her into the Imagist movement, its early queen. In London she knew D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, and many other poets. She published her first imagist poems in Poetry in 1913 and produced a strikingly original first book, Sea Garden, in 1916. She and Richard Aldington married at Kensington on October 18, 1913, but she bore Cecil Gray's daughter, Perdita, on March 31, 1919. (Aldington and she were divorced in 1938 so that he could marry again.) Abandoned by the three most important men in her life, Pound, Aldington, and Lawrence, H.D. was rescued by Annie Winnifred Ellerman, known as Bryher, who became Perdita's adoptive mother and was devoted to caring for her mother all her life. H.D. experimented with prose fiction and even played the role of Astrid in the film Borderline (1930). She entered psychoanalysis under Sigmund Freud in Vienna during the thirties and wrote autobiographical studies, Bid Me to Live (1960) and End to Torment (1979). Her other books of poetry are:

Awards and honours include the Harriet Monroe Prize (1956) and the Gold Medal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1960). She died September 27, 1961, in Zurich and is buried at Nisky Hill in Bethlehem.

See also

Biographical information

Given name: Hilda
Family name: Doolittle
Birth date: 1886
Death date: 1961