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Joseph Auslander ( 1897 - 1965 )  Category ( Poets ) [suggest a correction]
 

Joseph AuslanderUnited States Poet Laureate Joseph Auslander spent his life devoted to the writing, translation, and editing of literature, while also encouraging others to appreciate great poetry and prose. He was born in Philadelphia in 1897. His parents, Louis and Martha (Asyueck) Auslander encouraged their son and supported his early entry to Columbia University at age sixteen. The couple also had a daughter, Mary.

Auslander spent only one year at Columbia, transferring to Harvard, where he completed his degree in 1917. Harvard immediately hired him as an instructor of English, at which time he began his graduate work in English. He taught and studied at Harvard until 1924, though between 1921-1922 he took a sabbatical in order to enroll at the Sorbonne in Paris, for which he received a fellowship.

In 1929 he was hired by Columbia University to teach poetry. He remained there until 1937, when he was named United States Poet Laureate Consultant in English Poetry for the Library of Congress. He was also the poetry editor for the North American Review.

Auslander had married in 1930, to a woman named Svanhild Kreutz. Unfortunately, she died in childbirth two years later, leaving behind a daughter, Svanhild Frances Martha. The following year, Auslander remarried, this time to the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Audrey Wurdemann. The couple had two children, a son, Louis, and a daughter, Mary.

Auslander vividly demonstrated his patriotic side during World War II, when he became a devoted supporter of the sale of war bonds. He and his wife combined their talents to write and publish The Unconquerables, which was a collection of poetry dedicated to the people and places of Europe, which suffered enormously during and after the war. The couple continued to collaborate by writing two novels together, including Islanders and My Uncle Jan. Auslander also co-authored The Winged Horse with Frank Ernest Hill.

Auslander sought to encourage young people to appreciate poetry. To that end, he wrote a history of poetry for young people, followed by The Winged Horse Anthology, which was widely used in schools all across the United States. Auslander was also a well-known translator of literary works, particularly those of the great Italian poet, Francesco Petrarch, and French author Jean de la Fontaine. His own published works of poetry include Sunrise Trumpets, Cyclops' Eye, Hell in Harness, and Letters to Women. Late in life he was awarded the Robert Frost Prize for poetry.

In the summer of 1965, Auslander suffered a heart attack and died on his way to the hospital.


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