1959 in poetry

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Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

            List of years in poetry       (table)
... 1949 . 1950 . 1951 . 1952 . 1953 . 1954 . 1955 ...
1956 1957 1958 -1959- 1960 1961 1962
... 1963 . 1964 . 1965 . 1966 . 1967 . 1968 . 1969 ...
   In literature: 1956 1957 1958 -1959- 1960 1961 1962     
Art . Archaeology . Architecture . Literature . Music . Philosophy . Science +...


Robert Frost at his 85th birthday party
  • March – at a dinner celebrating Robert Frost's 85th birthday, the critic Lionel Trilling gives some brief remarks about Frost's poetry and "permanently changed the way people think about his subject", according to critic Adam Kirsch. Trilling says that Frost had been long viewed as a folksy, unobjectionable poet, "an articulate Bald Eagle" who gave readers comfortable truths in traditional meter and New England dialect in such schoolbook favorites such as "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "The Road Not Taken"; but was instead was "a terrifying poet" not so much like Longfellow as Sophocles, "who made plain ... the terrible things of human life." Trilling is severely criticized at the time, but his view will become widely accepted in the following decades.[1]
  • May 18–24 – Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet Union, head of state, in an extemporaneous speech at the Congress of Soviet Writers, calls for indulgence towards "deviationist" writers. At the same conference, the poet Alexis Surkov again condemns writing "hostile to socialist realism and denounces fellow poet Boris Pasternak as acting in a way that is "trecherous and unworthy of a Soviet writer". A liberalizing trend in the state's treatment of its writers is evident. Surkov, the subject of intense criticism himself, resigned from the congress, and at some point in the year attacks against Pasternak ceased.[2]
  • November 11 – Release in the United States of the short film Pull My Daisy, written and narrated by Jack Kerouac and starring poets of the Beat Generation Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso.
  • December – "The Poetry Society" episode of Hancock's Half Hour is broadcast on BBC radio, satirizing artistic pretensions.
  • In the United States, "Those serious new Bohemians, the beatniks, occupied with reading their deliberately undisciplined, protesting verse in night clubs and hotel ballrooms, created more publicity than poetry", wrote Harrison M. Hayford, an academic at Northwestern University. "Meanwhile back on the campus, the 'square' poets were turning more and more to a controlled verse, much of it good enough to survive the pointed charge of academicism." Non-beat, off-campus poets almost routinely displayed "simple competence in the handling of complex forms", he wrote in Encyclopædia Britannica's Britannica Book of the Year 1960, which covered 1959.[2]
  • Literary critic M.L. Rosenthal coins the term "confessional" as used in Confessional poetry in "Poetry as Confession", an article appearing in the September 19 issue of The Nation. Rosenthal's article reviewed the poetry collection Life Studies by Robert Lowell. The review was later collected in Rosenthal's book of selected essays and reviews, Our Life In Poetry, published in 1991[3]
  • The chairmanship of The Group, a grouping of British poets, passes to Edward Lucie-Smith this year when Philip Hobsbaum left London to study in Sheffield. The meetings continue at his house in Chelsea, and the circle of poets expands to include Fleur Adcock, Taner Baybars, Edwin Brock, and Zulfikar Ghose; others including Nathaniel Tarn circulate poems for comment.
  • Carl Sandburg, poet and historian, lectures at the U.S. fair and exposition in Moscow.[2]
  • After twenty years, John Crowe Ransom steps down as editor of The Kenyon Review, which he founded.
  • The journal Canadian Literature is founded by George Woodcock at the University of British Columbia.
  • The British poetry magazine Agenda is founded by William Cookson and Ezra Pound.[4]
  • Aldous Huxley turns down the offer of a knighthood.
  • In France, the centenary of the death of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore is commemorated.[2]

Works published in English[edit]

Listed by nation where the work was first published and again by the poet's native land, if different; substantially revised works listed separately:


India, in English[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Anthologies in the United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

Criticism, scholarship and biography in the United States[edit]

Other in English[edit]

Works published in other languages[edit]

Listed by language and often by nation where the work was first published and again by the poet's native land, if different; substantially revised works listed separately:

French language[edit]


Anthologies in France[edit]
Les poèmes de l'année 1959[edit]

Alain Bosquet and Pierre Seghers, editors, Les poèmes de l'année 1959, with poems by:[25]

Criticism, scholarship and biography in France[edit]


Criticism, scholarship and biography in French Canada[edit]

  • Editor not known, La Poésie et nous, a collection of essays on poetry[2]



United States[edit]


Listed in alphabetical order by first name:


Anthologies in Italy[edit]

  • Editor not known, Nuovi poeti, an anthology of Italian poetry since 1945[2]
  • Salvatore Quasimodo, editor, Poesia italiana del dopoguerra, an anthology of Italian poetry since 1945[2]

Spanish language[edit]

Latin America[edit]

Anthologies in Latin America[edit]
Criticism, scholarship and biography in Latin America[edit]
  • Raúl Leiva, Imagen de la poesía mexicana contemporánea, concerning 29 poets




Awards and honors[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]



Death years link to the corresponding "[year] in poetry" article:


Birth years link to the corresponding "[year] in poetry" article:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Kirsch, Adam, "Subterranean Frost Books", a review of The Notebooks of Robert Frost, in The New York Sun, February 12, 2007, accessed February 16, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs Britannica Book of the Year 1960, covering events of 1959, published by the Encyclopædia Britannica, 1960; including these articles: "American Literature", "Canadian Literature", English Literature", "French Literature", "German Literature", "Jewish Literature", "Italian Literature", "Latin American Literature", "Obituaries", "Spanish Literature" and "Soviet Literature"
  3. ^ Rosenthal, Our Life in Poetry pages 109 – 112
  4. ^ "'Agenda': the long and the short of excellence in poetry" article (no byline) in The Independent, April 25, 2008, accessed April 27, 2008
  5. ^ Preminger, Alex and T.V.F. Brogan, et al., editors, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 1993, Princeton University Press and MJF Books, "Canadian Poetry" article, English "Anthologies" section, p 164
  6. ^ " Robert Finch," Online Guide to Writing in Canada. Web, Mar. 17, 2011.
  7. ^ Gnarowsky, Michael, "Poetry in English, 1918-1960", article in The Canadian Encyclopedia, retrieved February 8, 2009
  8. ^ "Jay Macpherson, 1931-", Canadian Women Poets," BrockU.ca, Web, Apr. 10, 2011
  9. ^ Naik, M. K., Perspectives on Indian poetry in English, p. 230, (published by Abhinav Publications, 1984, ISBN 0-391-03286-0, ISBN 978-0-391-03286-6), retrieved via Google Books, June 12, 2009
  10. ^ a b Vinayak Krishna Gokak, The Golden Treasury Of Indo-Anglian Poetry (1828-1965), p 323, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi (1970, first edition; 2006 reprint), ISBN 81-260-1196-3, retrieved August 10, 2010
  11. ^ Vinayak Krishna Gokak, The Golden Treasury Of Indo-Anglian Poetry (1828-1965), p 325, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi (1970, first edition; 2006 reprint), ISBN 81-260-1196-3, retrieved August 10, 2010
  12. ^ Lal, P., Modern Indian Poetry in English: An Anthology & a Credo, p 8, Calcutta: Writers Workshop, second edition, 1971 (however, on page 597 an "editor's note" states contents "on the following pages are a supplement to the first edition" and is dated "1972")
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j M. L. Rosenthal, The New Poets: American and British Poetry Since World War II, New York: Oxford University Press, 1967, "Selected Bibliography: Individual Volumes by Poets Discussed", pp 334-340
  14. ^ a b c Cox, Michael, editor, The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-19-860634-6
  15. ^ a b Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, editors, The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, W. W. Norton & Company, 1973, ISBN 0-393-09357-3
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ludwig, Richard M., and Clifford A. Nault, Jr., Annals of American Literature: 1602–1983, 1986, New York: Oxford University Press ("If the title page is one year later than the copyright date, we used the latter since publishers frequently postdate books published near the end of the calendar year." — from the Preface, p vi)
  17. ^ Web page titled "W. S. Merwin (1927- )" at the Poetry Foundation Web site, retrieved June 8, 2010
  18. ^ "Selected Timeline of Anglophone Caribbean Poetry" in Williams, Emily Allen, Anglophone Caribbean Poetry, 1970–2001: An Annotated Bibliography, page xvii and following pages, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 978-0-313-31747-7, retrieved via Google Books, February 7, 2009
  19. ^ Web page titled "The Contemporary Scene" in An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 1966 website, accessed April 21, 2008
  20. ^ Preminger, Alex and T.V.F. Brogan, et al., editors, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 1993, Princeton University Press and MJF Books, "New Zealand Poetry" article, "History and Criticism" section, p 837
  21. ^ a b c Auster, Paul, editor, The Random House Book of Twentieth-Century French Poetry: with Translations by American and British Poets, New York: Random House, 1982 ISBN 0-394-52197-8
  22. ^ Preminger, Alex and T. V. F. Brogan, et al., The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 1993. New York: MJF Books/Fine Communications
  23. ^ a b c d Bree, Germaine, Twentieth-Century French Literature, translated by Louise Guiney, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983
  24. ^ Web page titled "Saint-John Perse: The Nobel Prize in Literature 1960: Bibliography" at the Nobel Prize Website, retrieved July 20, 2009. Archived 2009-07-24.
  25. ^ French Twentieth Bibliography: Critical and Biographical References for French Literature Since 1885, p 2456 (#46194), Susquehanna University Press, 1990, retrieved via Google Books on July 4, 2010
  26. ^ Web page titled "Kunwar Narain" at the "Poetry International" website, retrieved July 12, 2010
  27. ^ a b Das, Sisir Kumar and various, History of Indian Literature: 1911-1956: struggle for freedom: triumph and tragedy, Volume 2, 1995, published by Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 978-81-7201-798-9, retrieved via Google Books on December 23, 2008
  28. ^ "Cumulative List of Winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards", Canada Council. Web, Feb. 10, 2011. http://www.canadacouncil.ca/NR/rdonlyres/E22B9A3C-5906-41B8-B39C-F91F58B3FD70/0/cumulativewinners2010rev.pdf