Witter Bynner was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1881. He graduated from Harvard University in 1902. After college, he worked as a newspaper reporter and, later, as the assistant editor of McClure’s magazine.
Bynner published his first poetry collection, An Ode to Harvard (Small, Maynard, & Co.), in 1907. He was also the author of New Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), Take Away the Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), The Beloved Stranger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1919), Tiger (M. Kennerley, 1913), and several other poetry collections.
He was also known for his work in translation, including The Way of Life According to Laotzu: An American Version (John Day Co., 1944), and a literary biography, Journey with Genius: Recollections and Reflections Concerning the D. H. Lawrences (J. Day Co, 1951).
In 1916, he and Arthur David Ficke published Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, under the pseudonyms Emanuel Morgan and Anne Krish. The book included poems and a manifesto on “spectrism,” a parody of Imagism. In 1918, Bynner admitted that the book was a hoax.
In 1922, he settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his partner, Robert Hunt. He died there on June 1, 1968.