James Weldon Johnson
poet; first black man to be admitted to the Florida bar; leader in the Harlem Renaissance; also wrote poetry; "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man"
poet; worked as a cobbler, farmer, and bobbin boy at a mill before becoming one of America's favorite poets; writing was as simple and honest as an axe or hoe; poems reveal a deep love for nature and the outdoors, as well as a solid understanding of human nature; wrote A Boy's Will, West-Running Brook, The Road Not Taken and The Mending Wall
poet; One of the "Chicago Poets" along with Edgar Lee Masters and Vachel Lindsay; proved that you didn't have to live in New England to be a gifted American writer; poems that featured common people; wrote "Chicago Poems" and "Good Morning America"
poet; One of the "Chicago Poets" along with Carl Sandburg and Edgar Lee Masters; proved that you didn't have to live in New England to be a gifted American writer; poems that featured common people; chose to live as a hobo, spending a few months at a time lecturing on art and temperance
William Carlos Williams
poet; a doctor as well as a writer; sought to find a new, American voice; one of the first to dismiss more traditional literary forms such as the sonnet and the iamb, which he considered out of date English restrictions; did not follow the rules of grammar, capitalization, or punctuation; wrote "Paterson" and "Spring and All"
E. E. Cummings
wrote poetry, novels, plays, dramas, lectures; wrote poetry unlike anyone ever had; Romanticist and Transcendentalist; used new and different ways of writing to force his readers to focus on his ideas with new concentration; unconcerned with restraints on grammar, punctuation, form, and basically all other traditional ways of writing - produced innovative poetry that is sometime hard to understand
Edna St. Vincent Millay
poet; her mother asked her father to leave the family and proceeded to raise her three girls to be independent, self-sufficient, and to have an appreciation for art; openly bisexual - lived in a nine-foot wide apartment in Greenwich Village where she carried on a notoriously Bohemian life; "The Harp Weaver" (controversial poems due to their frank treatment of sexual themes and feminism)
poet; well known for his bright red hair and eccentric behavior; sympathizer of Benito Mussolini - during WWII gave anti-American and anti-Semitic radio addresses; eventually brought back to America and sentenced to death - influential friends got him off the hook; spent 13 years in a mental hospital - stopped speaking and refused to communicate with anyone; "Cantos" (a very long set of poems)
left a deep mark on American literature; entered Princeton at 17 then left and served in the army while writing first novel; rather than spelling out themes or emotions, he simply wrote the bare facts of a situation, leaving the deeper meanings between the lines; married four times, suffered from diabetes, and committed suicide with a gunshot at the age of 62; "A Farewell to Arms" "The Sun Also Rises" , "The Old Man and the Sea"
F. Scott Fitzgerald
prophet of the jazz age, a time of wild but empty partying and revelry in the 1920's; fell in love with wealthy Zelda who wouldn't marry him until he made something of himself; "The Great Gatsby" , "George Wilson"
important because he used new techniques such as stream of consciousness, multiple perspectives (The Sound and the Fury is composed of four sections, each narrated by a different Compson sibling), and non-linear plots; said "There is no such thing as WAS; if WAS existed there would be no grief or sorrow."; believed the past continued into the present as a shaping influence; "The Sound and the Fury"
was a satirist whose books caricatured the American middle class; won the Nobel Prize for Literature for "Arrowsmith" (the career of a scientist); also wrote "Babbit" (a satirical portrayal of an average American businessman) and "Main Street"
T. S. Eliot
poet; earned his B.A. in only three years; a contemporary of Ezra Pound, though Eliot was much more conservative; traditional forms and measure of poetry; "The Long Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "The Waste Land"
deeply concerned with the plight of laborers during the Great Depression, going so far as to fall in with a group of migrant workers and journey with them to CA; "Grapes of Wrath"
poet; working as a busboy in a hotel where poet Vachel Lindsay came to stay - his poetry was read with Mr. Lindsay's when Hughes placed a stack of poems at Lindsay's place in the dining room; beautifully documented the history of African-Americans; wrote The Weary Blues, Dream Keeper, and Fields of Wonder