Josephine Jacobsen

Josephine Jacobsen (1908-2003). Courtesy Universidad de Alcala.

Born Josephine Winder Boylan
August 19 1908(1908-Template:MONTHNUMBER-19)
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Died July 9 2003(2003-Template:MONTHNUMBER-09) (aged 94)
Cockeysville, Maryland, USA
Occupation Poet, literary critic
Nationality United States United States

Josephine Winder Jacobsen (August 19, 1908 - July 9, 2003) was an American poet and short story writer.[1]

Life Edit

Jacobsen was born Josephine Winder Boylan, prematurely, to an American couple who were vacationing in Canada. Her father died when she was five. Her mother moved frequently after that, and Josphine received no formal schooling until 14, being taught by tutors.[2] When she was 14, she moved to Maryland where she lived for the rest of her life.

Jacobsen served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress from 1971 to 1973 and as honorary consultant in American letters from 1973 to 1979. She served as a member of both the literature panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and the poetry committee of Folger Library.

She was a prolific writer of poems and short-stories into her ninth decade. Joseph Brodsky praised her poetry for its "reserve, stoic timbre, and its high precision" while William Meredith called her "post-cocious" for her prolific writing late in life.

Jacobsen is the author of several collections of poetry and prose.

Jacobsen was also a fan of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team and wrote poems on her love of baseball.


Jacobsen was appointed the 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1971.[3]

Among her other awards are an Academy of American Poets fellowship and the 1997 Poets' Prize for In the Crevice of Time. She received honorary doctorates from Goucher College, The College of Notre Dame in Maryland, Towson State University, and Johns Hopkins University. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994 and received the Frost Medal for Lifetime achievement in poetry.



  • Let Each Man Remember. Dallas, TX: Kaleidograph Press, 1940.
  • For the Unlost. Contemporary Poetry, 1946.
  • The Human Climate: New Poems. Contemporary Poetry, 1953.
  • The Animal Inside. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1966.
  • The Shade-Seller: New and selected poems. New York: Doubleday, 1974.
  • One Poet's Poetry. Agnes Scott College, 1975.
  • The Chinese Insomniacs: New poems. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981.
  • The Sisters: New and selected poems. Oakland, CA: Bench Press, 1987.
  • Distances. Cranbury, NJ: Bucknell University Press, 1992.
  • Collected Poems. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.
  • In the Crevice of Time: New and collected poems. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.
  • Contents of a Minute: Last poems (edited by Elizabeth Spires). Louisville, KY: Sarabande Books, 2008.[4]

Short fictionEdit

  • A Walk with Raschid, and other stories. Winston-Salem, NC: Jackpine, 1978.
  • Adios, Mr. Moxley: Thirteen stories. Winston-Salem, NC: Jackpine, 1986.
  • On the Island: New & selected stories. Ontario Review Press, 1989.
  • What Goes without Saying: Collected stories of Josephine Jacobsen. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.


  • The Testament of Samuel Beckett (dramatic criticism, with William R. Mueller). New York: Hill & Wang, 1964.
  • Ionesco and Genet: Playwrights of silence (dramatic criticism, with William R. Mueller). New York: Hill & Wang, 1968.
  • The Instant of Knowing. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1974
    • revised as The Instant of Knowing: Lectures, criticism, and occasional prose (edited by Elizabeth Spires). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1997.
  • Substance of Things Hoped For. New York: Doubleday, 1987.


  • From Anne to Marianne: Some American women poets. Washington, DC: Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1972,

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy the Poetry Foundation..[5]

Audio / videoEdit

  • Selected Poems (recording). Watershed, 1977.[5]
  • The Poet and the Poem (recording). Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1990.[5]

See alsoEdit



  1. Josephine Jacobsen, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Web, Mar. 29, 2013.
  2. "Elizabeth Spires on Josephine Jacobsen," Poetry Society of American,, Web, Jan. 22, 2012.
  3. "Poet Laureate Timeline: 1971-1980". Library of Congress. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  4. Search results = au:Josphine Jacobsen, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Oct. 5, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Josephine Jacobsen 1908–2003, Poetry Foundation, Web, June 26, 2012.

External linksEdit

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