Born in New York City to Edward and Natalie (Weiner) Davison, Peter Hubert Davison spent his formative years in Boulder, Colorado. His father, a poet and English expatriate, taught at the University of Colorado. Here his family hosted some of the most important poets and novelists of the day because of his father’s management of a significant national writing conference each summer. Thus, Peter Davison grew up in a privileged intellectual environment.
After he graduated from Harvard University in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in history and literature, Davison spent a year as a Fulbright scholar at Saint John’s College of Cambridge University in England. In 1951, he was drafted into the military, and he served for two years in the psychological warfare division of the U.S. Army. Following his discharge in 1953, Davison worked in New York City for two years as an editor at Harcourt, Brace and Company before moving to Boston in 1955 to join the staff of Harvard University Press and, in 1956, Atlantic Monthly Press.
Shortly after his move to New England, he also began to consider the possibility of writing poetry. Davison was influenced in this decision by a number of factors. He was inspired by the example of the young poet Sylvia Plath, with whom he had a brief love affair, and by his acting success in verse plays produced by the Poets’ Theatre in Cambridge. He also credits years of serious psychoanalysis with helping him not only come...
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