Dana Gioia’s Introduction to Edwin Arlington Robinson

Poet and information billionaire Dana Gioa has a YouTube channel. He regularly posts videos about the art of poetry, poem recitations, and profiles of poets past.

This week Mr. Gioa introduced me to Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Robinson lived a tortured life. His parents died while he was still a young man. He battled alcoholism. He was in love with his brother’s (Herman) wife Emma. And worked probably the worst day job of all time – 10 hours a day walking the darkness as a New York Subway time-checker. He once went an 11 year stretch without publishing a poem. And when finally published, the critics ridiculed his poetry. But despite life’s beat-downs, he found the fortitude to keep writing.

Success did arrive. An unexpected friendship with Kermit Roosevelt. Eventually, consistent publication. Multiple Pulitzer Prize wins for his Collected Poems, The Man Who Died Twice, and Tristram. And even romance, with the painter and the brilliantly named Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones.

The theme of Robinson’s life was tragedy, but his perseverance inspires.

Worth watching all the way through.

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