Conrad Aiken

Conrad Aiken

About Conrad Aiken

Conrad Aiken (August 5, 1889 – August 17, 1973) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and novelist, born in Savannah, Georgia. His work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography. Aiken's earliest poetry was written partly under the influence of a beloved teacher, the philosopher George Santayana. This relation shaped Aiken as a poet who was deeply musical in his approach and, at the same time, philosophical in seeking answers to his own problems and the problems of the modern world.
Aiken was educated in private schools and at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, then at Harvard University where he edited The Lawyer with T.S. Eliot. Aiken graduated in 1912. It was Aiken who introduced T.S. Eliot to Ezra Pound. He is also close to William Carlos Williams. His role was decisive in the recognition of Emily Dickinson, whose He published her Selected Poems in 1924.
His life is shared between America and England where he lived for many years before the Second World War. He was deeply influenced by symbolism, particularly in his early works. In 1930 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Selected Poems. He wrote Earth Triumphant (1914), The Charnel Rose (1918), In the Hanging Gardens (1933), Silent Snow and Secret Snow (1934). His poem Music I Heard has been set to music by a number of composers, including Leonard Bernstein and Henry Cowell.
He is also one of the most important novelists of his generation, to the point of having been the mentor of Malcolm Lowry, who admires his prose as much as his verses.

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