Aiken, Conrad

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Aiken, Conrad

Conrad Aiken (ā´kĬn), 1889–1973, American author, b. Savannah, Ga., grad. Harvard, 1912. Aiken is best known for his poetry, which often is preoccupied with the sound and structure of music; his volumes of verse include The Charnel Rose (1918), Selected Poems (1929; Pulitzer Prize), Brownstone Eclogues (1942), Collected Poems (1953), A Letter from Li Po (1956), A Seizure of Limericks (1964), and The Clerk's Journal (1971). In 1924 he edited Emily Dickinson's Selected Poems, which established her literary reputation. Aiken's interest in psychopathology is evident in the novels Blue Voyage (1927) and Great Circle (1933). His collected critical essays, A Reviewer's ABC, appeared in 1958, his collected short stories—including "Mr. Arcularis" and "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" —in 1961. Aiken held (1950–57) the poetry chair at the Library of Congress and was awarded the National Medal for Literature (1969).

See his autobiography, Ushant (1952, repr. 1971); biography by J. Martin (1962).

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