Western European

Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale, born and raised in St. Louis and one of our most celebrated poets in her time, gradually fell out of favor after her death. The image she was willing to benefit from—that of a romantic yearning for erotic fulfillment—did not help her status during the heyday of the New Criticism. Yet she was never entirely the poet her contemporary audience preferred her to be. She wrote powerful antiwar poems—two of them reprinted here—but chose not to include them in any of her books. And her well-known poems have an easy fluency that makes them modern in a different register.

Richard Siken

Richard Siken was educated at the University of Arizona and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he is a full-time social worker caring for developmentally disabled adults. He also coedits Spork Press, which published the quarterly literary magazine Spork from 2001 to 2010 and continues to issue it occasionally, along with chapbooks and novels. To make these dual lives possible, Siken has regularly worked twenty-hour shifts on the weekend to free up time to edit for the press and write his poetry during the week.

William Heyen

Through the course of a long and productive career, William Heyen has regularly returned to the Holocaust as a subject. Thus we open this selection from his work with his frequently anthologized poem “Riddle.” But in many ways his most remarkable achievement is the book-length poem sequence Crazy Horse in Stillness (1996), which consists of a 464-poem “dialogue” between the great Ogalala Lakota war chief Crazy Horse (c.

Stephen Crane

While Crane is best known for his novel The Red Badge of Courage (1895) and for his short stories, he also wrote two volumes of poetry, The Black Riders and Other Lines (1895) and War Is Kind (1899).

W. H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York, England, but emigrated to the United States in January 1939. He is thus claimed on both sides of the ocean. That year Auden also fell in love with the American writer Chester Kallman, who became his lifetime partner. Auden took American citizenship in 1946, but thereafter he divided his time between New York and southern Italy.

Barbara Guest

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina and raised in California, Guest earned a B.A. in Humanities in 1943 at UC Berkeley. She spent years in New York City where she became involved with the New York School poets, including Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery. She was also well known for her book on the poet H.D., Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World (1984). Like the others in the New York School, Guest took issue with the closed-form New Critical aesthetics then dominating the academy.