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Gardner, Isabella (1915–1981)

Gardner, Isabella (1915–1981)

American poet. Name variations: Isabella Stewart Gardner. Born Isabella Stewart Gardner, Sept 7, 1915, in Newton, Massachusetts; died July 7, 1981, in New York, NY; niece of art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) and cousin of poet Robert Lowell; attended Foxcroft School; attended Embassy Theatre School; m. 2nd husband Maurice Seymour (div.); divorced 3rd husband (1957); m. 4th husband Allen Tate (poet and critic), 1959 (div. 1966).

Distinguished poet, 1st studied acting at Embassy Theatre School in London under Eileen Thorndike; acted professionally (1939–1944) in both England and US, primarily in character and comedy roles; moved to Chicago with 2nd husband during WWII; turned attention away from theater and towards poetry (1947); became associate editor of nation's most prominent poetry magazine, Poetry, working under Karl Shapiro (1951); published 1st book of poems, Birthdays from the Ocean (1955), which was received favorably by critics; wrote 2 significant volumes of poetry, The Looking Glass (1961) and West of Childhood (1965); gave readings throughout US and Europe, often with Allen Tate; published broadside Salt (1975); published That Was Then: New and Selected Poems (1979), which was nominated for American Book Award; had a strong influence on younger writers, particularly women poets, including Sylvia Plath; published posthumously, Isabella Gardner: The Collected Poems (1990). Received 1st Walt Whitman Citation of Merit (1981).

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