Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Louis Coxe, a career academic, published extensively in academic journals on a wide variety of literary subjects as well as on his own philosophy of poetry; a number of these essays were gathered in Enabling Acts: Selected Essays in Criticism (1976). As a student at Princeton University in the late 1930’s, Coxe first read the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson and was impressed enough to make him the topic of his senior thesis. His interpretive biography of Robinson, published in 1962, remains one of the most astute (and eloquent) analyses of Robinson’s achievement. Coxe’s widest recognition came from his coauthorship (along with Robert Chapman) of Billy Budd, a 1951 Broadway production of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Foretopman (1924). The adaptation was widely hailed for its lyrical grace and its vivid theatricality (it was later made into a successful film). Coxe wrote other lesser plays, most of them about historic events, for regional repertory companies.