John Ciardi

John Ciardi

About John Ciardi

John Anthony Ciardi, born June 24, 1916 in Boston and died March 30, 1986 in Edison, New Jersey, was an American poet, translator, publisher and author of science fiction. After attending Bates College, he studied at Tufts University, graduating in 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. He then completed postgraduate studies at the University of Michigan in 1939 with a Master of Arts (MA) and then began teaching as a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Ciardi, who made his literary debut in 1940 with the publication of the anthology Homeward to America, served during World War II from 1942 to 1945 in the US Army Air Corps as a gunner. After the end of World War II he resumed his teaching activities and was later also a professor of English at Harvard University from 1946 to 1953 and at Rutgers University between 1953 and 1961. He has written more than forty volumes of poetry.
He gained recognition above all for his complete translation into English of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy in three volumes: The Inferno (1954), The Purgatorio (1961) and The Paradiso (1970). In addition, he was 1956-1972 responsible editor for poetry at the weekly newspaper The Saturday Review. He published the anthologies Person to Person (1964) and The Little That Is All (1974), before co-publishing Limericks, Too Gross (1978) with Isaac Asimov. In it, for example, they argued about whether titles were allowed in a limerick or not. After the volume of poetry For Instance (1979), the dictionary A Browser's Dictionary and Native's Guide to the Unknown American Language was published in 1980, followed in 1981 by another volume of poetry with Asimov entitled A Grossery of Limericks. In 1983 he continued his dictionary A Second Browser's Dictionary and Native's Guide to the Unknown American Language and in 1985 he published the anthology The Birds of Pompeii.
Ciardi was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1953 and of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1957. A book of poetry entitled The Collected Poems of John Ciardi was published posthumously in 1997.
He died in Metuchen, New Jersey on Easter Sunday 1986.

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Poetry lies its way to the truth.

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