Horace Gregory Biography


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Horace Victor Gregory was a product of the Midwest, born and raised in Milwaukee. Forced by childhood tuberculosis to spend much time at home, he became an inveterate reader, and his parents encouraged their only child in his literary pursuits. In his 1971 autobiography, The House on Jefferson Street: A Cycle of Memories, Gregory describes his childhood with warmth. In 1923, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin and moved to New York. By this time, he already had a solid classical background and had published poetry in Harriet Monroe’s influential Poetry magazine in Chicago, and he quickly established himself in the exciting New York literary scene of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Supporting himself through editing and book reviews, he made friends among the artists and writers. In 1925, he met and married the poet Zaturenska; they would have two children, Joanna and Patrick. The couple was invited to the writers’ colony at Yaddo in 1933. The following year, Gregory began teaching modern poetry and classics at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, a career that would last until his retirement in 1960. The couple often worked together, writing and editing, and they traveled extensively. On their first trip to England in the early 1930’s, Gregory met Eliot, William Butler Yeats, and other major figures of modern Anglo-American poetry. Gregory’s career combined creating poetry, translating the works of the Latin poets Ovid and Catullus, and writing critical studies and biographies of various writers. Gregory’s wife died in January, 1982, and Gregory followed her in death two months later.