Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters

About Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters (August 23, 1868, Garnett, Kansas - March 5, 1950, Melrose Park, Pennsylvania) was an American writer, poet, playwright, and biographer. He is the author of Spoon River, The New Star Chamber and Other Essays, Songs and Satires, The Great Valley, The Spleen and Illinois Poems. In all, Masters has published twelve plays, twenty-one books of poetry, six novels and six biographies, including those of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Vachel Lindsay and Walt Whitman.
Masters first published his early poems and essays under the pseudonym Dexter Wallace until the year 1903, when he joined the law firm of Clarence Darrow. Masters began developing as a notable American poet in 1914, when he began a series of poems (this time under the pseudonym Webster Ford) about his childhood experiences in Western Illinois, which appeared in Reedy's Mirror, a St. Louis publication.
Although he never matched the success of his Spoon River Anthology, he did publish several other volumes of poems including Book of Verses in 1898, Songs and Sonnets in 1910, The Great Valley in 1916, Song and Satires in 1916, The Open Sea in 1921, The New Spoon River in 1924, Lee in 1926, Jack Kelso in 1928, Lichee Nuts in 1930, Gettysburg, Manila, Acoma in 1930, Godbey, sequel to Jack Kelso in 1931, The Serpent in the Wilderness in 1933, Richmond in 1934, Invisible Landscapes in 1935, The Golden Fleece of California in 1936, Poems of People in 1936, The New World in 1937, and More People in 1939.
Masters' work received the Mark Twain Silver Medal in 1936, the Poetry Society of America and Academy of American Poets Fellowship awards (Robert Frost 1942 Medal), the Shelly Memorial Award (1944).
He died in misery and forgotten, of pneumonia, on March 5, 1950 and was buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Petersburg.

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