Vendler, Helen Hennessy
Helen Hennessy Vendler, 1933–, American poetry critic, b. Boston, Ph.D. Harvard, 1960. One of America's most lucid critics of poetry, uniquely adept at close reading, she is also among the genre's great advocates. Her major works include monographs on W. B. Yeats (1963 and 2007), George Herbert (1975), Wallace Stevens (1969 and 1984), and Seamus Heaney (1998) as well as studies of Keats's Odes (1983) and Shakespeare's Sonnets (1997) and analyses of works by Pope, Whitman, Dickinson, and Yeats (2004), Herbert, Whitman, and Ashbery (2005), and Dickinson (2010). Among her books on aspects of contemporary poetry are Part of Nature, Part of Us (1980), Soul Says (1995), The Given and the Made (1996), Coming of Age as a Poet (2003), and Last Looks, Last Books (2010). Vendler has also edited a number of anthologies, notably The Harvard Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1985). She has taught at Harvard since 1985.