William Jay Smith

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For the 19th-century Tennessee congressman, see William Jay Smith (Tennessee politician)
William Jay Smith
Born (1918-04-22) 22 April 1918 (age 96)
Winnfield, Louisiana, USA
Occupation Poet
Nationality United States
Alma mater Washington University in St. Louis
Columbia University
Oxford University

William Jay Smith (born 22 April 1918) is an American poet. He was appointed the nineteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1968 to 1970.[1]

Life[edit]

William Jay Smith was born in Winnfield, Louisiana. He was brought up at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, south of St. Louis. Smith received his A.B. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and continued his studies at Columbia University, and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

In 1947 he married the poet Barbara Howes, and they lived for a time in England and Italy. They had two sons, David Smith, and Gregory. They divorced in the mid-1960s.

Smith was a poet in residence at Williams College from 1959–1967, taught at Columbia University from 1973 until 1975. He serves as the Professor Emeritus of English literature at Hollins University.

As of 2008, he lives in houses located in both Cummington, Massachusetts and Paris, France.[2]

Smith is the author of ten collections of poetry of which two were finalists for the National Book Award.

He has been member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1975.

His work has appeared in Harper's Magazine,[3] The New York Review of Books,[4]

Works[edit]

Poetry[edit]

Poems for children[edit]

Translations[edit]

, Federico García Lorca (1994).

Non-fiction[edit]

  • The streaks of the tulip: selected criticism. Delacorte Press. 1972. 
  • Army brat: a memoir. Persea Books. 1980. ISBN 978-0-89255-047-0. 
  • My Friend Tom: The Poet-Playwright Tennessee Williams. University Press of Mississippi. 2102. ISBN 978-1-61703-175-5. 

Editor[edit]

Plays[edit]

Reviews[edit]

"When the whole history of twentieth-century American poetry is eventually written, it will surely be revealed that despite the apparently larger and often noisier triumphs of "open" forms, astonishingly good verse that we can call "metrical" or "formal" has continued to be written by some of the country's best poets – Smith himself along with his contemporaries and near-contemporaries Richard Wilbur, John Hollander, and Anthony Hecht. That Smith has written poems replete with rhythm, rhyme, wit, and melody – what Louise Bogan called "the pleasures of formal poetry," in an essay by the same name – is cause for celebration, homage, and gratitude."

—Elizabeth Frank, The Atlantic.[5]

"The far-reaching themes and variety of styles in William Jay Smith's poetry prove that commonplace ideas and everyday activities can be reinvented by lyrical language that enlightens and entertains the reader. His magical "Collected Poems" span a half-century of his life and the life of the nation, adding up to a literary and social history of our times in verse."

—Herbert Mitgang, Books of The Times; Man, Nature and Everyday Activities in Verse[6]

Awards[edit]

  • 1945 Young Poets prize, Poetry
  • 1964 Ford fellowship for drama
  • 1970 Henry Bellamann Major award
  • 1972 Loines award
  • 1972, 1995 National Endowment for the Arts grant
  • 1975, 1989 National Endowment for the Humanities grant
  • 1978 Gold Medal of Labor (Hungary)
  • 1980 New England Poetry Club Golden Rose Award
  • 1982 Ingram Merrill Foundation grant
  • 1990 California Children's Book and Video Awards recognition for excellence (pre-school and toddlers category), for Ho for a Hat!
  • 1991 medal (médaille de vermeil) for service to the French language, French Academy
  • 1993 Pro Cultura Hungarica medal
  • twice a nominee for the National Book Award in poetry
  • 19978 René Vásquez Díaz prize, Swedish Academy

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]