Born in 1888, Alan Seeger spent most of his early years in New York City. From 1900 to 1902, he lived with his family in Mexico, where his father had business interests; for much of the next eight years, Seeger lived in Mexico off and on, acquiring what he called a fair command of Spanish and a deep appreciation for Mexican culture.
In 1906, Seeger matriculated at Harvard University, where he studied literature and served as editor of the Harvard Monthly. After graduating in 1910, Seeger moved back to New York, to the then-quiet neighborhood of Greenwich Village, where he tried to make ends meet with poetry, occasional journalism, and a short-term job as a library clerk. In a letter he wrote to a potential employer in New York in 1910, Seeger wrote that he knew from boyhood that he wanted to be a poet and seriously considered no other profession. In the same letter, he noted that he had been offered a job with good potential for advancement in a publishing firm but was not going to take the position.
By 1912, Seeger had begun to realize that New York did not offer a productive environment for his attempts to write and grow as a poet. In the middle of 1912, Seeger left New York for Paris, joining a small colony of American expatriates, most of whom were artists or writers. At that time, Paris was a world center for the arts; French culture seemed particularly attractive and nonjudgmental to those who wanted to pursue new directions in music, poetry, sculpture, and painting. Although by nature a...
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