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Ursula K. Le Guin


Ursula K. Le Guin was born on October 21, 1929, in Berkeley, California. Her parents, Alfred L. Kroeber and Theodora Quinn Kroeber, were both anthropologists. Le Guin was the youngest of four children and the only daughter.

She received a BA from Radcliffe College in 1951 and an MA in Romance languages from Columbia University in 1952. While in France on a Fulbright fellowship, she met and married Charles Le Guin, another Fulbright scholar. Soon after, the couple moved to Portland, Oregon.

Over the next few years, Le Guin wrote poetry, short stories, and five novels, but it wasn’t until 1961 that she published her first short story. In 1975 she published her first poetry collection, Wild Angels (Capra Press). Le Guin went on to publish several additional books of poetry, including Later in the Day: Poems, 2010–2014 (PM Press, 2016), Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), and Hard Words (Harper & Row, 1981). A final poetry collection, So Far So Good: Poems 2014–2018 (Copper Canyon Press), is forthcoming in the fall of 2018.

Le Guin is best known for her work in expanding genre and blurring the borders between science and literary fiction. She is the author of more than twenty novels, including The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (Harper & Row, 1974)and The Left Hand of Darkness (Walker, 1969), both of which won Hugo and Nebula Awards. She also published several collections of short stories and of essays.

In 2000 the Library of Congress honored Le Guin with the title of “Living Legend,” and in 2003 she was named a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014. Le Guin died on January 22, 2018.

Selected Bibliography

So Far So Good: Poems 2014–2018 (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)
Later in the Day: Poems, 2010–2014 (PM Press, 2016)
Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)
Out Here: Poems and Images from Steens Mountain Country (Raven Studios, 2010)
Incredible Good Fortune (Shambhala, 2006)
Sixty Odd (Shambhala, 1999)
The Twins, the Dream: Two Voices, with Diana Bellessi (Arte Público Press, 1996)
Going out with Peacocks (HarperPerennial, 1994)
Blue Moon over Thurman Street (NewSage Press, 1993)
Wild Oats and Fireweed (Perennial Library, 1988)
Hard Words (Harper & Row, 1981)
Wild Angels (Capra Press, 1975)

The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories (Small Beer Press, 2012)
The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (Shambhala, 2004)
The Telling (Harcourt, 2000)
Four Ways to Forgiveness (HarperPrism, 1995)
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea (Atheneum, 1990)
Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (Grove Press, 1989)
Fire and Stone (Atheneum, 1989)
The Compass Rose: Short Stories (Harper & Row, 1982)
The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction (Putnam, 1979)
Orsinian Tales (Harper & Row, 1976)
The World’s Twelve Quarters: Short Stories (Harper & Row, 1975)
The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (Harper & Row, 1974)
The Farthest Shore (Atheneum, 1972)
The Lathe of Heaven (Scribner, 1971)
The Left Hand of Darkness (Walker, 1969)
A Wizard of Earthsea (Parnassus Press, 1968)
Rocannon’s World (Ace Books, 1966)

By This Poet


The Maenads

Somewhere I read 
that when they finally staggered off the mountain 
into some strange town, past drunk, 
hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed, 
blood dried under broken nails 
and across young thighs, 
but still jeering and joking, still trying 
to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling 
dead asleep by the market stalls, 
sprawled helpless, flat out, then 
middle-aged women, 
respectable housewives, 
would come and stand nightlong in the agora 
as ewes and cows in the night fields, 
guarding, watching them 
as their mothers 
watched over them. 
And no man 
that fierce decorum.

Hymn to Time

Time says “Let there be”
every moment and instantly
there is space and the radiance
of each bright galaxy.

And eyes beholding radiance.
And the gnats’ flickering dance.
And the seas’ expanse.
And death, and chance.

Time makes room
for going and coming home
and in time’s womb
begins all ending.

Time is being and being
time, it is all one thing,
the shining, the seeing,
the dark abounding.