George Edwin Starbuck (June 15, 1931, Columbus, Ohio – August 15, 1996, Tuscaloosa, Alabama) was an American poet of the neo-formalist school.
He studied at Chadwick School, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, the American Academy in Rome, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. He taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Boston University, and State University of New York, Buffalo. He was fired by SUNY-Buffalo for not taking a loyalty oath, but was vindicated in the Supreme Court. His students included Maxine Kumin, Peter Davison, Emily Hiestand, Mary Baine Campbell, Craig Lucas, James Hercules Sutton, and Askold Melnyczuk.
He had five children: Margaret, Stephen, John, Anthony, and Joshua. His papers are held at the University of Alabama library.
His work is marked by clever rhymes, witty asides, and the fusing of Romantic themes with cynicism towards modern life. Starbuck called his style of formalism SLABS, for Standard Length And Breadth Sonnets. He was not widely appreciated by mainstream culture during his lifetime, but in the few years since his death his work has earned favor from both literary critics and casual readers of poetry. Two new collections of his poems have been published in the last few years (Poems Selected from Five Decades and Visible Ink) and have helped win him a wider audience. Starbuck's best-known poems include "Tuolomne," "On an Urban Battlefield," and "Sonnet With a Different Letter At the End of Every Line."
- Kathryn Starbuck, Elizabeth A. Meese, ed. (November 2003). The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0-8173-1378-4.
- Kathryn Starbuck, Elizabeth A. Meese, ed. (March 2002). Visible Ink. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0-8173-1154-4.
- The Argot Merchant Disaster: Poems New and Selected. Little, Brown. 1982. ISBN 978-0-316-81081-4.
- Desperate Measures, D. R. Godine, August 1978
- Elegy in a Country Church Yard, September 1975
- White Paper, Little, Brown, 1966
- Bone Thoughts, 1960 reprint. AMS Press. 1971. ISBN 978-0-404-53856-9.