Reed Whittemore

Reed Whittemore (1919-2012). Courtesy Wikipedia.

Reed Whittemore
Born Edward Reed Whittemore, Jr.
September 11, 1919
New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died April 6, 2012 (aged 92)
College Park, Maryland
Occupation Poet, academic
Nationality United States
Alma mater Yale University

Edward Reed Whittemore, Jr. (September 11, 1919 - April 6, 2012) was an American poet and academic.[1] He served as Poet laureate of Maryland, and twice as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.[2]


Whittemore was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Phillips Academy an then Yale University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1941. As a sophomore at Yale, he and his roommate James Angleton started a literary magazine called Furioso which became one of the most famous "little magazines" of its day, publishing many notable poets including Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. "It was the ne plus ultra of little magazines" according to Victor Navasky. The magazine was published intermittently until 1953.

After service in the Army, Whittemore published his first volume of poetry in 1946. From 1947 to 1966, he was a professor of English at Carleton College. While at Carleton he renewed his magazine under the name the Carleton Miscellany and published many first-time poets such as Charles Wright.

He lived in College Park, Maryland with his wife Helen, and taught at the University of Maryland, College Park, until 1984.

In November 2007 Dryad Press published his memoir, ''Against The Grain: The literary life of a poet, with an introduction by Garrison Keillor.


His poetry is notable for its wry and deflating humor. The poet X.J. Kennedy remarked that "his whole career has been one brave protest against dullness and stodginess."


Whittemore was appointed the 16th, and later the 28th, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1946 and 1984 respectively.[3] His book The Mother's Breast and the Father's House was a finalist for the National Book Award for poetry. He is the recipient of the National Council on the Arts Award for lifelong contribution to American Letters and the Award of Merit Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



  • Heroes & Heroines. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1946.
  • An American Takes a Walk, and other poems. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1956.
  • The Self-Made Man, and other poems. New York: Macmillan, 1959.
  • Return, Alpheus: A poem for the literary elders of Phi Beta Kappa. Williamsburg, VA: King & Queen Press, 1965.
  • Poems: New and selected. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1967.
  • Fifty Poems Fifty. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1970.
  • The Mother's Breast and the Father's House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974.
  • The Feel of Rock: Poems of three decades. Washington, DC: Dryad Press, 1982.
  • The Past, the Future, the Present: Poems selected and new. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1990.
  • Ten from Ten, and one more. Takoma Park, MD: Dryad Press, 2006.


  • Little Magazines (pamphlet). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1963.
  • Ways of Misunderstanding Poetry (lecture). Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1965.
  • From Zero to the Absolute (essays). New York: Crown, 1964.
  • William Carlos Williams: Poet from Jersey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975.
  • The Poet as Journalist: Life at the 'New Republic'. Washington, DC: New Republic Book, 1976.
  • William Carlos Williams: "The happy genius of the household": A centennial lecture. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1984.
  • Pure Lives: The early biographers. Baltimore,MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.
  • Poets and Anthologists: A look at the current poet-packaging process: A lecture. Wshington, DC: Library of Congress, 1986.
  • Whole Lives: Shapers of modern biography. Baltimore,MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
  • Six Literary Lives: The shared impiety of Adams, London, Sinclair, Williams, Dos Passos, and Tate. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1993.
  • Against The Grain: The literary life of a poet: A memoir (introduction by Garrison Keillor. Washington, DC: Dryad Press, 2007.

Collected editionsEdit

  • The Boy from Iowa: Poems and essays. New York: Macmillan, 1962.
  • The Fascination of the Abomination: Poems, stories, and essays. New York: Macmillan / London: Collier-Macmilln, 1963.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

"Still Life" by Reed Whittemore01:13

"Still Life" by Reed Whittemore

Audio / videoEdit

  • A Whittemore Miscellany (cassette). Washington, DC: Watershed Foundation, 1977.[4]

See alsoEdit

Preceded by
Lucille Clifton
Poet Laureate of Maryland
Succeeded by
Linda Pastan


  • Reed Whittemore, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Web, Nov. 7, 2005.


  1. Reed Whittemore, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., Web, Mar. 29, 2013.
  2. Reed Whittemore 1919–2012, Poetry Foundation, Web, June 24, 2012.
  3. "Poet Laureate Timeline: 1953-1960". Library of Congress. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Search results = au:Reed Whittemore, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 23, 2015.

External links Edit

Audio / video
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