A BiographyBook - 1997
John Ciardi Was a Translator, orator, critic, short story writer, author of popular children's poetry, and crafter of some of the most compelling poems in contemporary literature. As one of poetry's great ambassadors, he was heard regularly on National Public Radio with his program A Word in Your Ear, and he also hosted a television magazine program that covered subjects as diverse as languages, the arts, and World War II. His verse translation of Dante's Divine Comedy is still hailed by many as the most artful and instructive text of the epic in English, and his book How Does a Poem Mean? reigns as a standard text in writing classes across the country He died Easter Sunday, 1986, at his home in Metuchen, New Jersey. In this study of Ciardi's life, Edward Cifelli has captured all the deep concerns, passions, and thoughtfulness that marked Ciardi's long career in American letters. With care and penetrative detail, Cifelli evokes Ciardi's early childhood in Boston and his Italian heritage, his service as an aerial gunner during World War II, and his teaching at Harvard. Illuminated here are Ciardi's contributions as an editor of Saturday Review and World magazines, where his essays on the state of poetry and human affairs had a wide and loyal readership. The biography reveals his tireless effort to bring an awareness and love of language and poetry to America by radio and television and explores his twenty-six years on the staff of the famous Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a gathering he directed for seventeen years. With a true biographer's ken, Cifelli uncovers the gambler's wit and luck in Ciardi, his charm, and the drive that made him The Capitalist of Po-Biz. The product often years of scholarship, this definitive work reintroduces one of America's great poets to a new generation of writers and readers, and defines the remarkable contributions of a quintessential man of letters.
Publisher: Fayetteville, Ark. : University of Arkansas Press, 1997.
Characteristics: xv, 557 p.,  p. of plates :,ill., ports. ;,23 cm.