Elinor Wylie was born in New Jersey and grew up in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., the child of a prominent family. As an adult she became poetry editor of Vanity Fair and a contributing editor to The New Republic. The poems often combine exquisite craft with a powerful sense of isolation, sometimes with an aura of death. Their precision also bears comparison with imagist practice, especially with some of Amy Lowell’s and H.D.’s early poetry. After a series of heart attacks, Wylie died of a stroke at age forty-three.
Timothy Steele was born in Burlington, Vermont, and educated at Stanford and Brandeis. Partly because of his early commitment to meter and rhyme when free verse dominated the contemporary scene—and partly because he has theorized the formal choices available to poets in his critical book Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt against Meter (1990)—Steele has become a leading figure in the loosely defined New Formalist movement. Steele also wrote a textbook, All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification (1999).
Kathleen Fraser grew up in Oklahoma, Colorado, and California, graduating from Occidental College, then working in New York as an editorial assistant for Mademoiselle for a time before taking up her writing and teaching career full time. While teaching at San Francisco State University from 1972 to 1992, she directed The Poetry Center and founded The American Poetry Archives. Fraser was co-founder and co-editor, of the feminist poetics newsletter (HOW)ever.
Thomas James was born Thomas Edward Bojeski in Joliet, Illinois, the city in which he lived most of his life. The obvious predecessor who was his inspiration was Sylvia Plath. As a reviewer writes in the Boston Review years later, “like the Ariel sequence, James’s poems fondle and embroider the delicate veil between life and death.” James died in 1974 at his own hand at the age of twenty-seven, just after the first publication of his only book, Letters to a Stranger.
Andrew Hudgins was born in Killeen, Texas, as part of a military family. That entailed relocating through the South repeatedly while he was growing up. Some of that comes through in his verse autobiography The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood (1994). His essay collection The Glass Anvil (1997) takes up both his personal poetics and the complexities of childhood memory. Hudgins was educated at Huntingdon College, the University of Alabama, and the University of Iowa.
Albert Goldbarth was born in Chicago and educated at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at the University of Iowa. He taught for a decade at the University of Texas at Austin and now teaches at Wichita State University in Kansas. His poems are rich with the history of the language and manage to extract both dark and witty meaning from that very history. The erudition on display is both dazzling and compulsive, and the unsteady line between the two impulses provides part of the pleasure of his work.
Lyn Hejinian was born in Alameda, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and educated at Harvard. She was editor of Tuumba Press from 1976 to 1984, when it pioneered in issuing a series of fifty Language poet chapbooks. She has also been co-editor of Poetics Journal for over twenty years.
Charles Bernstein was born in New York City and educated at Harvard. He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, he observed about his work, "It’s true that, on the one hand, I mock and destabilize the foundation of a commitment to lyric poetry as an address toward truth or toward sincerity. But, on the other hand, if you’re interested in theory as a stable expository mode of knowledge production or critique moving toward truth, again, I should be banned from your republic.