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Louise Bogan


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 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. 

Her 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. 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 her poetry was written in the earlier half of her life when she published Body of This Death (McBride & Company, 1923), Dark Summer (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929), and The Sleeping Fury (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1937). 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. She died in New York City on February 4, 1970. 

Selected Bibliography


The Blue Estuaries 1923-1968 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968)
Collected Poems 1923-1953 (Noonday Press, 1954)
Poems and New Poems (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1941)
The Sleeping Fury (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1937)
Dark Summer (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929)
Body of This Death (McBride & Company, 1923)


What The Woman Lived: Selected Letters of Louise Bogan 1920-1970 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973)
Selected Criticism: Poetry and Prose (Noonday Press, 1955)
Achievement in American Poetry, 1900-1950 (H. Regnery Company, 1951)

By This Poet


Tears in Sleep

All night the cocks crew, under a moon like day,
And I, in the cage of sleep, on a stranger's breast,
Shed tears, like a task not to be put away---
In the false light, false grief in my happy bed,
A labor of tears, set against joy's undoing.
I would not wake at your word, I had tears to say.
I clung to the bars of the dream and they were said,
And pain's derisive hand had given me rest
From the night giving off flames, and the dark renewing.