Bogan, Louise (1897 - 1970)

Biography: 

Louise Bogan was born in Livermore, Maine, August 11, 1897, and was educated at the Girls' Latin High School and Boston University, which she left without taking a degree. Her first marriage, to Curt Alexander, an army officer, in 1916, was effectively over by 1918. Their daughter Maidie was born Oct. 19, 1917, but was raised by Bogan's parents. Alexander died in 1920. In 1923, a year after she received the first of three Guggenheim fellowships (1922, 1933, 1937), her first book of poetry, Body of this Death: Poems, came out. She married poet Raymond Holden in 1925. This was followed by her second book, Dark Summer: Poems, in 1929. Bogan endured bouts of mental illness from 1931 on, the year that The New Yorker hired her as poetry editor, a post she carried out impeccably for 38 years, until 1969. Her third book of poems, The Sleeping Fury, was published in 1937, the year she divorced Holden. This book reflected her experience with love, which grew to include an affair with the American poet, Theodore Roethke. She became Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress in 1945-46 and enjoyed increasing recognition for her writing. She won the John Reed Memorial Prize from Poetry in 1930, the Harriet Monroe Award in 1948, and a share of the Bollingen Prize in 1955. Bogan was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1952 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1969. She taught at Arkansas, Brandeis, Chicago, and Washington universities, her first critical work, Achievement in American poetry, 1900-1950, having come out in 1951. Her Collected Poems appeared in 1941, but she made her own selection in The Blue Estuaries: Poems, 1923-1968 in 1968. She also translated literature from French and German late in life. She died of a heart attack on February 4, 1970. For additional information on her life and works, see

  • A Poet's Alphabet: Reflections on the Literary Art and Vocation, ed. Robert Phelps and Ruth Limmer (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970). PN 710 B642 Robarts Library
  • Frank, Elizabeth. Louise Bogan: A Portrait (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1985). PS 3503 O195Z66 Robarts Library
  • Knox, Claire E. Louise Bogan: A Reference Source (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1990). Z 8106.42 K58 Robarts Library
  • Journey around my Room: the Autobiography of Louise Bogan: a Mosaic, ed. Ruth Limmer (New York: Viking Press, 1980). PS 3503 O195Z515 Robarts Library
  • Louise Bogan reads her works (Carillon Records, YP 308, 1961; cassette). PS 3022 Audiocass Erindale College Library
  • Bogan, Louise. Body of this Death: Poems (New York: R.M. McBride, 1923; PS 3503 O195B66 Robarts Library).
  • --. Dark Summer: Poems (New York: C. Scribner, 1929). PS 3503 O195D28 Robarts Library
  • --. The Sleeping Fury: Poems (New York: C. Scribner, 1937). PS 3503 O195S63 Robarts Library
  • --. Achievement in American poetry, 1900-1950 (Chicago: H. Regnery, 1951). PS 221 B56 1951 Robarts Library
  • --. Poems and New Poems (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1941). PS 3503 .O195 A17 St. Michael's College
  • --. Collected Poems, 1923-1953 (New York: Noonday Press, 1954).
  • --. The Blue Estuaries: Poems, 1923-1968 (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968). PS 3503 O195B5 Robarts Library
  • Weston, Mildred. Our 30-year-old Friendship: Letters from Louise Bogan, Comments by Mildred Weston ... and, Legacy: poems from the twenties to the nineties hitherto unpublished (Cheney, Wash.: Eastern Washington University Press, 1997). PS 3573 E9243A6 Robarts Library
  • What the Woman Lived; Selected Letters of Louise Bogan, 1920-1970, ed. Ruth Limmer (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973). PS 3503 O195Z53 Robarts Library
Given Name: 
Louise
Family Name: 
Bogan
Birth Date: 
1897
Death Date: 
1970
Literary Period: 
Literary Movement: