Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: American Poets)
Paul Blackburn was the son of the poet Frances Frost. Having been reared in Vermont, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and New York City, he attended New York University and the University of Wisconsin, where he received a B.A. degree in 1950. While at Wisconsin, Blackburn began corresponding with Ezra Pound, whose poetry he admired, and then occasionally visited Pound in St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, D.C. At Pound’s suggestion, Blackburn began writing to Robert Creeley, who eventually published his poems in the Black Mountain Review and put him in touch with Cid Corman, who, in turn, published Blackburn’s poems in Origin (a quarterly for the creative) and introduced him to Charles Olson, though Blackburn was never to study or teach at Black Mountain College. Pound also encouraged Blackburn’s interest in the troubadours, which began when Blackburn encountered Pound’s own quotations and imitations of Provençal verse in Personae (1909) and the Cantos (1925-1972). In 1953, Blackburn published a small volume of translations through Creeley’s Divers Press, the early Proensa, that earned him a Fulbright scholarship in 1954 to do research in Provençal poetry at the University of Toulouse in southern France, and he returned as lecteur américain the following year. He remained in Europe, principally in Málaga, Spain, and Bañalbufar, Mallorca, with Winifred McCarthy, whom he married in 1954, until 1957,...
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