About William Ellery LeonardWilliam Ellery Leonard was an American poet, academic and translator of epic works such as Beowulf and classical pieces by Lucretius and Aesop. He was also a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin for forty years. He published his first book of poems 'Sonnets and Poems' in 1906 followed by numerous volumes of poetry, plays and essays. Sonnets and Poems is regarded as showing emotional intensity as well as psychological depth. However, the poet is most remembered and known for his poem Two Lives , a text of 250 sonnets telling the story of his tragic marriage. This text concerns the death of his first wife, a suicide, and the social and personal ramifications of this tragic event. Written in somewhat archaic language the poems provide an insight into the interesting figure's early life. He also wrote an autobiography called 'The Locomotive God' which deals with his early life. Stephen Vincent Benét called it the best american poem of the twentieth century. In his psychological autobiography, The Locomotive-God, he probed his agoraphobia.
Browse all poems and texts published on William Ellery Leonard