Lindsay, Vachel

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lindsay, Vachel

Vachel Lindsay (Nicholas Vachel Lindsay) (vā´chəl lĬn´zē), 1879–1931, American poet, b. Springfield, Ill., studied at Hiram College, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the New York School of Art. Lindsay made tours selling his poems and drawings, living as a modern-day troubadour. He was particularly effective when reading his own poems. His poetry at its best is virile and strong. It has a fine spoken music, often enhanced by jazz rhythms. Volumes of his poetry include General William Booth Enters into Heaven (1913), The Congo (1914), The Chinese Nightingale (1917), and Collected Poems (1938). Lindsay was plagued by poverty and illness in his later years, and the quality of his poetry declined.

See his autobiographical Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty (1914) and A Handy Guide for Beggars (1916); his letters (ed. by A. J. Armstrong, 1940); biographies by E. L. Masters (1935, repr. 1969) and M. Harris (1975); studies by J. T. Flanagan, comp. (1970) and A. Massa (1970).

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