Frederick Turner (poet)

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This article is about the poet and professor. For other people named Frederick Turner, see Fred Turner.

Frederick Turner (born 1943 Northamptonshire, England) is an American poet and academic. He is the author of two full-length epic science fiction poems, The New World and Genesis; several books of poetry; and a number of other works. He has been called "a major poet of our time"[1] and "a universal scholar - a rare find in a world of over-specialization - whose work transects and borrows from several rather disparate fields."[2]


Turner is currently Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas.[3] Previous academic positions included the University of California, Santa Barbara (assistant professor 1967-72), Kenyon College (associate professor 1972-85), and the University of Exeter in England (visiting professor 1984-85). From 1978-82 he was editor of The Kenyon Review.


As a poet he uses the longer genres, the narrative, science fiction, and strict metrical forms. He is a winner of the Milan Fust Prize (shared with Zsuzsanna Ozsváth) and the Levinson Poetry Prize, awarded by Poetry Magazine (1983).[4]

Reviews and commentary[edit]

  • "In Hadean Eclogues, Frederick Turner..., an interdisciplinary scholar and devotee of the classics, searches for a modern Arcadia, the sacred and taboo gateway between heaven and Earth that inspired the poets of old. He finds it in a startling place - the emerging suburbs in the cities of his adopted home, Texas." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune[5]
  • Genesis, an Epic Poem, by Frederick Turner... (It) doesn’t seem like an epic poem about the terraforming of Mars, using characters modeled partly on Greek mythology, would be a recipe for success. But Turner is an exceptionally skillful poet, who when he wrote this book had already completed a fascinating Mars novel, A Double Shadow (1978), and another fine book-length narrative poem, The New World (1985). Here, the Olympian grandeur of the characters and plot match well with the Martian landscape, which under its rapid terraforming is still recognizably a place established in the popular imagination by the Viking landers. The result is a triumph that deserves to be better known." --IEEE Spectrum[6]

Personal life[edit]

Frederick Turner was born in Northamptonshire, England, in 1943. His parents were cultural anthropologists Victor Turner and Edith Turner; due to their professional travels he was raised in Africa, the United States, and England.[7] Frederick Turner was educated at the University of Oxford (1962–67), where he obtained the degrees of B.A., M.A., and B.Litt. in English Language and Literature. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1977. His brother is Robert Turner. He has been married since 1966 to Mei Lin Turner and has two sons.


  1. ^ Golden, Gayle (September 2, 1990). "Universal Poet: Frederick Turner is shaking the literary world with his ideas about mankind's rightful place in the cosmos". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Template:Name = "Gerry"
  3. ^ "Frederick Turner, Founders Professor". University of Texas at Dallas. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Prizes : Poetry Magazine". The Poetry Foundation. 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2012-06-29. 
  5. ^ Miller, Pamela (January 9, 2000). "Three poets explore disillusionment and its aftermath". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Robinson, Kim Stanley (June 1990). "My 10 Favorite Mars Novels". IEEE Spectrum. Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  7. ^ O'Sullivan, Gerry; Pletsch, Carl (November 1, 1993). "Save Export Email Print Cite Inventing arcadia: an interview with Frederick Turner". The Humanist. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 

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