Moore, Marianne Craig
Known for its qualities of irony and sharply observed detail, Marianne Moore's innovative poetry shows the influence of imagism – a literary movement that stressed the importance of precise imagery. Embracing a wide variety of subject matter, ranging from animals to current affairs, it is also marked by unconventional forms of stanza and poetic metre.
Marianne Moore was born in Kirkwood, St. Louis, Missouri, and attended Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1909. She taught at the Indian School in Carlisle from 1911 to 1915. In 1918 she moved to New York, living first in Manhattan and then in Brooklyn, where she spent most of her life and was a devoted fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. She worked as a secretary until 1921 and as a librarian from 1921 to 1925.
In 1915 some of her poems were published by T. S. Eliot in The Egoist, a British periodical specializing in imagist verse, and in Poetry, a Chicago-based magazine that published avant-garde poets. Poems, her first volume, appeared in Britain in 1921; it was published in the United States in 1924 as Observations, winning the Dial Award. From 1925 to 1929 Moore was acting editor of The Dial, an influential literary magazine. In 1952, following the publication of her Collected Poems (1951), she won the Pulitzer Prize, the U.S. National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize. In 1954 she published a verse translation of The Fables of La Fontaine. Later publications include O To Be a Dragon (1959), The Arctic Fox (1964), and Tell Me, Tell Me (1966).
Moore's work is admired by those who place a high value on poetic craftsmanship; T. S. Eliot praised her “swift dissolving image,” and William Carlos Williams saw in her poetry “a swiftness impaling beauty.”
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