Although a Canadian by birth, Mark Strand moved to the United States in 1938, when he was four years old, and has remained there for most of his life. He has consistently described his parents, Robert Joseph Strand and Sonia Apter Strand, as “bookish,” intellectual types who emphasized education and the humanities in his childhood. The youth at first fought his parents’ influence in this regard and sought to become an athlete, although he was interested in art from an early age. He grew up in the country, spending much time without the companionship of other children. In 1954, he entered Antioch College in northern Ohio, where he immediately came under the influence of Nolan Miller, his freshman English teacher and a respected critic, editor, and writer. In his college years, his attraction to and involvement with poetry became undeniable; he discovered that he liked reading it as well as writing it, and, whether consciously or unconsciously, he set upon a career course that would eventually lead to the announcement that he had been appointed poet laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Yale University in 1959, where he also received the Cook Prize and the Bergin Prize. Upon graduation, he was appointed a Fulbright Fellow and spent a year at the University of Florence. In 1961, he was married to Antonia Ratensky, from whom he was divorced in 1973; the marriage saw the birth of one...
(The entire section is 417 words.)