William Logan (poet)

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William Logan
NationalityUnited States
Academic background
Alma materYale University
University of Iowa
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Florida

William Logan (born 1950) is an American poet, critic and scholar.


Logan was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to W. Donald Logan, Jr. and Nancy Damon Logan. He lives in Gainesville, Florida and Cambridge, England with his wife, the poet and artist, Debora Greger. Educated at Yale (BA, 1972) and the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa (MFA, 1975), he has authored eight books of poetry as well as five books of criticism.


He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Florida. Logan's poetry reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review. Many of these reviews have been quite controversial, leading Slate magazine to call him "the most hated man in American poetry . . . [and] its guiltiest pleasure".[1] Logan's own poetry has received generally positive reviews. The poet Richard Tillinghast wrote, "when he manages to avoid obscurity, Mr. Logan writes with vigor, almost classical restraint and a fine sense of musicality." Logan's work has also received positive notices from The New York Times Book Review, Poetry and Publisher's Weekly.[2] In a review in Poetry magazine, Michael Scharf favorably compared the poetry from Logan's 1999 collection Night Battle with the work of the poet Geoffrey Hill.[3]


Being a formalist poet himself, Logan's small handful of positive reviews tend to go to well-established, conservative poets (usually deceased) who were/are masters of formal verse like Geoffrey Hill, Frederick Seidel, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop.[4] But he has also fiercely criticized other formalist poets like Les Murray and Derek Walcott and praised a small handful of free verse poets like Louise Gluck and Anne Carson. Logan has been especially critical of popular free verse poets like Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Sharon Olds as well as more experimental poets like Jorie Graham and Rae Armantrout.[5] Although he's best known for his often extreme reviews of poets, Logan has written some mixed reviews of poets like Kay Ryan, John Ashbery, and Frank O'Hara whom he has judged to be flawed but admirable.





  • All the Rage (1998)
  • Reputations of the Tongue (1999)
  • Desperate Measures (2002)
  • The Undiscovered Country (2005)
  • Our Savage Art (2009)
  • Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry (2014)[6]


  1. ^ Poetry's cruelest and guiltiest pleasure. - By Eric McHenry - Slate Magazine
  2. ^ "William Logan", Poetry Foundation
  3. ^ "William Logan", Poetry Foundation
  4. ^ Ford, Mark. "Samurai Critic." The New York Times Book Review. April 4, 2009 [1]
  5. ^ See W. Logan's "Chronicles" columns in The New Criterion magazine.
  6. ^ https://cup.columbia.edu/book/guilty-knowledge-guilty-pleasure/9780231166867

External links[edit]