Horace Gregory Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

In addition to his role as poet, Horace Gregory was a translator, editor, biographer, and literary critic. He published translations of the works of Catullus and Ovid, and he edited The Portable Sherwood Anderson (1949) and Poems of George Gordon, Lord Byron (1969). His biographies included Amy Lowell: Portrait of the Poet in Her Time (1958) and Dorothy Richardson: An Adventure in Self-Discovery (1967). His literary criticism began with Pilgrim of the Apocalypse: A Critical Study of D. H. Lawrence (1933) and included several volumes of collected essays, including The Shield of Achilles: Essays on Belief in Poetry (1944), The Dying Gladiators, and Other Essays (1961), and Spirit of Time and Place: Collected Essays (1973).


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Horace Gregory was a twentieth century renaissance man of letters, who made contributions in a number of literary fields. His first book of poetry was regarded as an impressive debut, and throughout his long career, he published poems in a wide range of literary journals, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Saturday Review of Literature. He won numerous honors for his work, including the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine in 1934, the Russell Loines Award in 1942, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1951, a Union League Civic and Arts Poetry Prize in 1951, a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets in 1961, and the Bollingen Prize for poetry in 1965. With his wife, Marya Zaturenska (who won a Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1938 for Cold Morning Sky), he wrote one of the best studies of the crucial period in American poetry, A History of American Poetry, 1900-1940 (1946). His criticism covered not only American writers such as James Whitcomb Riley and James McNeill Whistler, but also British writers such as Lawrence and Richardson. He edited volumes by American poets (E. E. Cummings, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and British poets (Violet Paget), as well as collections of religious verse and student verse, and with his wife, he edited one of the best collections of poetry for children (The Crystal Cabinet: An Invitation to Poetry, 1962). His own critical essays were distinguished by both insight and elegance. Very few poets of his generation—T. S. Eliot would be another—had an impact on such a wide range of literary subjects and genres.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Gregory, Horace. The House on Jefferson Street: A Cycle of Memories. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. In addition to containing stories of his childhood, his early years in New York, and his travels to England and Ireland, Gregory’s memoir shines a light on his views of poetry and the creative process.

Modern Poetry Studies 4, no. 1 (Spring, 1973). This issue of Modern Poetry Studies is devoted to Gregory and has essays by M. L. Rosenthal, Robert K. Morris, Victor A. Kramer, and others on a range of topics and poems.

Roberts, James P. Famous Wisconsin Authors. Oregon, Wis.: Badger Books, 2002. Contains an essay on Gregory, along with one on his wife, detailing his life and works.

Rosenthal, M. L. The Modern Poets: A Critical Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. Rosenthal places Gregory in the context of his American and British peers in the 1930’s and describes his roots in Anglo-American literary history.

Zucker, David. “Horace Gregory.” In American Poets, 1880-1945, Second Series, edited by Peter Quartermain. Vol. 48 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1986. A thorough and wide-ranging survey of the poet’s life and work which recognizes his place in American poetry after World War I.