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Modernism (1915-1945)

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E. A. Robinson
poet; "Tristan", "Collected Poems", "Richard Cory"
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"
Robert Frost
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
Carl Sandberg
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"
Edgar Lee Masters
poet; one of the "Chicago Poets"; "Spoon River Anthology"
Vachel Lindsay
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voice; one of the first to dismiss more traditional literary forms such as the sonnet and the iamb, which he considered out of date English restrictions; did not follow the rules of grammar, capitalization, or punctuation; wrote "Paterson" and "Spring and All"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)
Ezra Pound
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)
Ernest Hemingway
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"
William Faulkner
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"
Sinclair Lewis
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"
John Steinbeck
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"
Richard Wright
author of "Native Son"
Langston Hughes
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
Zora Neale Hurston
true non-conformist in everything form her style of clothing to her writing; wrote novels about African-Americans; criticized for declining to implant political messages in her writing; wrote Mules and Men, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Jonah's Gourd Vine