Moore, Marianne

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Moore, Marianne

Marianne Moore, 1887–1972, American poet, b. St. Louis, grad. Bryn Mawr College, 1909. She lived mostly in New York City, working first as a librarian and then as editor of the Dial magazine (1925–29). Beginning in 1929, she devoted herself to caring for her ailing mother, who had a profound influence over her verse. After her mother died (1947), she cultivated an image of a Brooklyn Dodger–loving eccentric, often clad in cloak and tricorn hat. Her poetry, constructed like a precise mosaic, is witty, intellectual, and often satirical. Volumes of her verse include Poems (1921), Observations (1924), What Are Years? (1941), Collected Poems (1951; Pulitzer Prize), O to Be a Dragon (1959), and Complete Poems (1967). Among her other works are the translation The Fables of La Fontaine (1954) and the essays Predilections (1955). During her literary career, Moore constantly revised her poems; the finest versions are not always the final ones. All versions of her poems through 1924 Becoming Marianne Moore: Early Poems, 1907–1924 (2002, ed. by R. G. Schulze); the final and other versions of later work are in New Collected Poems by Marianne Moore (2017, ed. by H. C. White).

See Selected Letters (1997, ed. by B. Costello); biographies by C. Molesworth (1990) and L. Leavell (2013); studies by G. W. Nitchie (1969), B. Costello (1981), M. Holley (1988), and C. Goodridge (1989).

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