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John Hollander

John Hollander
File:John Hollander.jpg
Born (1929-10-28)October 28, 1929
Died August 17, 2013(2013-08-17) (aged 83)
Branford, Connecticut
Alma mater Columbia College of Columbia University, Indiana University
Genre Poetry
Spouse Anne Loesser;
Natalie Charkow
Children Martha Hollander, Elizabeth Hollander

John Hollander (October 28, 1929 – August 17, 2013) was an American poet and literary critic.[1] At the time of his death, he was Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University, having previously taught at Connecticut College, Hunter College, and the Graduate Center, CUNY.


Hollander was born in Manhattan, to Muriel (Kornfeld) and Franklin Hollander,[2] Jewish immigrant parents. He attended Columbia College of Columbia University, where he studied under Mark Van Doren and Lionel Trilling, and overlapped with Allen Ginsberg, Jason Epstein, Richard Howard, Robert Gottlieb, Roone Arledge, Max Frankel, Louis Simpson and Steven Marcus. After graduating, he supported himself for a while writing liner notes for classical music albums before returning to obtain a Ph.D. in literature.[3]

Hollander resided in Woodbridge, Connecticut, where he served as a judge for several high school recitation contests, and said he enjoyed working with students on their poetry and teaching it.

He stressed the importance of hearing poems out loud:
A good poem satisfies the ear. It creates a story or picture that grabs you, informs you and entertains you.[4]

He is known also for his translations from Yiddish.

Hollander usually wrote his poems on a computer, but if inspiration stuck him, he offered that, "I've been known to start poems on napkins and scraps of paper, too."[4]

Hollander influenced poet Karl Kirchwey, who studied under Hollander at Yale. Hollander taught him that it was possible to build a life around the task of writing poetry.[5] Kirchwey recalled Hollander's passion:[5]

Since he is a poet himself ... he conveyed a passion for that knowledge as a source of current inspiration.

He also served in the following positions, among others: member of the board, Wesleyan University Press (1959–62); editorial assistant for poetry, Partisan Review (1959–65) and a contributing editor, of Harper's Magazine (1969–71).[6]

With his ex-wife, Anne Loesser (daughter of pianist Arthur Loesser;[7] married 1953 to 1977), he was the father of writer Martha Hollander. He married Natalie Charkow in 1981.

Hollander died at Branford, Connecticut, on August 17, 2013 at the age of 83.[8]

Awards and honors


  • A Crackling of Thorns (1958) poems
  • The Untuning of the Sky (1961)
  • The Wind and the Rain (1961) editor with Harold Bloom
  • Movie-Going (1962) poems
  • Philomel (1964) "cantata text" for the composition of the same name by American composer Milton Babbitt
  • Visions from the Ramble (1965) poems
  • Jiggery-Pokery: A Compendium of Double Dactyls (1967) with Anthony Hecht
  • Types of Shape (1969, 1991) poems
  • Images of Voice (1970) criticism
  • The Night Mirror (1971) poems
  • Town and Country Matters (1972) poems
  • The Head of the Bed (1974) poems
  • Tales Told of the Fathers (1975) poems
  • Vision and Resonance (1975) criticism
  • Reflections on Espionage (1976) poems
  • Spectral Emanations: New and Selected Poems (1978)
  • Blue Wine (1979) poems
  • The Figure of Echo (1981) criticism
  • Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse (1981, 1989, 2001) manual of prosody
  • Powers of Thirteen (1983) poems
  • In Time and Place (1986) poems
  • Harp Lake (1988) poems
  • Melodious Guile: Fictive Pattern in Poetic Language (1988)
  • Some Fugitives Take Cover (1988) poems
  • Tesserae and Other Poems (1993)
  • Selected Poetry (1993)
  • Animal Poems (1994) poems
  • The Gazer's Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art (1995) criticism
  • The Work of Poetry (1997) criticism
  • Figurehead and Other Poems (1999) poems
  • Picture Window (2003)
  • American Wits: An Anthology of Light Verse (2003), editor
  • The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, editor
  • Poems Bewitched and Haunted (2005) editor
  • A Draft of Light (2008), poems
  • Sonnets. From Dante to the present, Everyman's library pocket poets.


  1. ^ John Hollander at NNdb
  2. ^
  3. ^ Keillor, Garrison. Writer's Almanac. October 28, 2006.
  4. ^ a b c Boynton, Cynthia Wolfe, "Venerable Poet's Words To a Pop Music Beat", article, The New York Times, Connecticut and the Region section, February 10, 2008, p. 6
  5. ^ a b JOHN SWANSBURG (April 29, 2001). "At Yale, Lessons in Writing and in Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-15. Karl Kirchwey, who graduated from Yale in 1979, recently became the director of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College, after having run the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y for over a decade. He remembers his first two years at Yale as unfocused and unproductive. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Grimes, William (August 18, 2013). "John Hollander, Poet at Ease With Intellectualism and Wit, Dies at 83". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ STATE OF CONNECTICUT, Sites º Seals º Symbols; Connecticut State Register & Manual; retrieved on January 4, 2007

External links

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