Louise Bogan

1897 –

Louise Bogan was born in Livermore Falls, Maine, on August 11, 1897. She attended Boston Girls’ Latin School and spent one year at Boston University. She married in 1916 and was widowed in 1920. In 1925, she married her second husband, the poet and editor Raymond Holden, whom she divorced in 1937. In 1945, she was elected as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (later re-named the United States Poet Laureate), and was the first woman to hold the position. 

Bogan’s poems were published in The New Republic, The Nation, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Scribner’s and Atlantic Monthly. For thirty-eight years, she reviewed poetry for The New Yorker.

Bogan was supportive and encouraging to poets she admired, such as Theodore Roethke and Sonia Sanchez. Her poetic ability is unique in its strict adherence to lyrical forms, while maintaining a high emotional pitch: she was preoccupied with exploring the perpetual disparity of heart and mind. 

The majority of Bogan’s poetry was written in the earlier half of her life, which is when she published The Sleeping Fury (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937); Dark Summer (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929); and Body of This Death (McBride & Company, 1923). She subsequently published volumes of her collected verse and The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923–1968 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968), an overview of her life’s work in poetry. She received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1968.

Louise Bogan died in New York, New York, on February 4, 1970.