Robert P. T. Coffin

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Robert Peter Tristram Coffin
Robert Peter Tristram Coffin.jpg
BornMarch 18, 1892
Brunswick, Maine
DiedJanuary 20, 1955(1955-01-20) (aged 62)
Brunswick, Maine
Occupationpoet
NationalityAmerican

Robert Peter Tristram Coffin (March 18, 1892 – January 20, 1955) was an American poet, educator, writer, editor and literary critic. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1936, he was the Poetry editor for Yankee (magazine).[1]

Early Life[edit]

Born Robert Peter Coffin, the youngest of ten children to James William Coffin, a descendant of Tristram Coffin (settler) and Alice Mary Coombs on a saltwater farm on Sebascodegan Island.[1] Coffin earned his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in 1915 and then his Masters of Arts from Princeton University in 1916.[1] In 1921 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature by Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1936.[2]

Career[edit]

Coffin served with the US Army in World War I. When he returned he taught English at Wells College and then as the Pierce Professor at Bowdoin College.[1]

There is a public school in Coffin's birthplace of Brunswick, Maine, named after him. Coffin Elementary School opened in 1955, in his honor.[3] He dedicated his book "Captain Abby and Captain John" to fellow Bowdoin College alumnus L. Brooks Leavitt, "a fellow son of Maine." Coffin subsequently wrote his poem "Brooks Leavitt" as a eulogy to his old friend, which was read at Leavitt's funeral in Wilton, Maine. "Captain Abby and Captain John" is one of his most well-known works, and centers around the characters Abby and John Pennell, two 19th-century ship captains. A shipbuilding district in Brunswick, Maine, known as Pennellville, provided the inspiration for the book, as well as Coffin's shared lineage with the Pennell family.

Works[edit]

Robert P.T Coffin also illustrated many of his books.

Death[edit]

Coffin died of a heart attack in Brunswick, Maine, on January 20, 1955, at the age of 62. He is buried in the Cranberry Horn Cemetery in Harpswell.

Partial bibliography[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

  • Book of Crowns and Cottages (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1925)
  • Laud, Storm Center of Stuart England (1930)
  • The Dukes of Buckingham, Playboys of the Stuart World (1931)
  • Portrait of an American (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1931)
  • Lost Paradise (Autobiography) (The Macmillan Co. New York, 1934)
  • The Kennebec: Cradle of Americans (Farrar & Rinehart, 1937) (First volume in the Rivers of America Series)
  • Maine Ballads (The Macmillan Co., New York 1938)
  • Primer for America (1943)
  • Mainstays of Maine (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1944)
  • Maine Doings (Bobbs-Merrill, New York, 1950)

Fiction and poetry[edit]

  • Christchurch (Thomas Seltzer, New York, 1924)
  • Dew and Bronze (Albert & Charles Boni, 1927)
  • Golden Falcon (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1929)
  • The Yoke of Thunder (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1932)
  • Ballads of Square-Toed Americans (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1933)
  • Strange Holiness (1935)
  • Red Sky in the Morning (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1935)
  • John Dawn (1936)
  • Saltwater Farm. J. J. Lankes (illustration). (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1937.)
  • Thomas-Thomas-Ancil-Thomas (1941)
  • Book of Uncles (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1942)
  • Poems for a Son with Wings (1945)
  • People Behave Like Ballads (1946)
  • Yankee Coast (1947)
  • One Horse Farm (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1949)
  • Apples by Ocean (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1950)
  • On the Green Carpet (1951)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Swain, Raymond Charles (1967). A breath of Maine : portrait of Robert P. Tristram Coffin. Boston: Branden Press.
  2. ^ "Strange holiness, The 1936 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry".
  3. ^ http://www.brunswick.k12.me.us/cof/about-coffin-school/

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]