Poets | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
April 29th, 2016 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 313,715 comments.
Biography of Conrad Aiken

Conrad Aiken

Conrad Aiken (1889 - 1973)

American poet, short story writer, critic and novelist. Most of Aiken's work reflects his intense interest in psychoanalysis and the development of identity. As editor of Emily Dickinson's Selected Poems (1924) he was largely responsible for establishing that poet's posthumous literary reputation. From the 1920s Aiken divided his life between England and the United States, playing a significant role in introducing American poets to the British audience.

Conrad Aiken was born in Savannah, Georgia. In his childhood Aiken experienced a considerable trauma when he found the bodies of his parents after his physician father had killed his mother and committed suicide. He was brought up in Massachusetts from the age of eleven by a great-great-aunt.

Before entering Harvard Aiken was educated at private schools and at Middlesex School, Concord. In Harvard he shared a class with T.S. Eliot, with whom he edited the Advocate and whose poetry was to influence his own. Aiken graduated in 1912, in the same era as Eliot, Walter Lippman, Van Wyck Brooks, and E.E. Cummings. After working as a reporter, Aiken devoted himself entirely to writing, having also a small private income. Of the many influences Aiken acknowledged, the writings of Freud, Havelock Ellis, William James, Edgar Allan Poe, and the French Symbolists are evident in his work. Freud considered Aiken's GREAT CIRCLE a masterpiece of analytical introspection.

Aiken's first collection of verse, EARTH TRIUMPHANT, appeared in 1914 and made him known as a poet. He was a contributing editor to Dial, which led to a friendship with Ezra Pound. Aiken's essays, collected in SKEPTICISMS (1919) and A REVIEWER'S ABC (1958), dealt with the questions provoked by his commitment to literature as a mode of self-understanding.

During the First World War Aiken claimed that he was in an 'essential industry' because of being a poet, and was granted an exemption for this reason.

Aiken's adult life was marked by trans-Atlantic journeys. In 1921 he moved from Massachusetts to England, settling in Rye, Sussex. In 1927-28 he was a tutor in English at Harvard. He married Clarissa M. Lorenz in 1930 (divorced in 1937). In 1933 he sailed again for Boston, and then spent two years in Rye (1934-36), writing 'London Letters' to the New Yorker. He returned to New York and Boston, and travelled in Mexico, where he married the artist Mary Hoover. They returned to Rye in 1937, but moved to the United States after the outbreak of World War II.

In 1930 Aiken was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection SELECTED POEMS. Most of Aiken's fiction was written in the 1920s and 1930s, among others novels BLUE VOYAGE (1927), in which he used interior monologue, KING COFFIN (1934), and short story collections BRING! BRING! (1925) and AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE (1934).

After staying two years in Rye, Aiken settled in 1947 in Brewster, Massachusetts. He was a consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress from 1950 to 1952. In 1953 he published COLLECTED POEMS, which included the masterwork 'Preludes to Definition' and 'Morning Song of Senlin'. Aiken's 'autobiographical narrative' USHANT (1952) depicted his friendships with Malcolm Lowry, T.S. Eliot, and other figures he knew. It dramatized the attempt of its protagonist, the author's persona, to read the palimpsest of hieroglyphs that constitutes the landscape of his soul, and mingled sketches of the literary generation between the wars with psychoanalytic free association.

From 1962 on Aiken wintered in a Savannah house adjacent to that of his childhood. He died in Savannah on August 17, 1973. Aiken received Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Bollinger Prize in 1956, Gold Medal in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1958, and National Medal for Literature in 1969. Aiken's psychological penetrations and verbal richness never received the wide recognition they deserve in spite of his several awards. Posthumously published THE SELECTED LETTERS OF CONRAD AIKEN (1978) contains correspondence with such literary colleagues as Wallace Stevens, Harriet Monroe, and Edmund Wilson.


Biography by: Petri Liukkonen


64 Poems written by Conrad Aiken

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

Volume | Alphabetically | [Page Views] | Comments | First Lines


Page ViewsPoemComments
12689 All Lovely Things
5926 Morning Song Of Senlin Comments and analysis of Morning Song Of Senlin by Conrad Aiken 2 Comments
4609 The Carver
4347 Nocturne Of Remembered Spring Comments and analysis of Nocturne Of Remembered Spring by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
3981 Improvisations: Light And Snow
3911 Discordants
3820 The House Of Dust: Complete (Long) Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Complete (Long) by Conrad Aiken 14 Comments
3641 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 10: Sudden Death
3628 Hatteras Calling
3619 The House Of Dust: Introduction
3604 Chiarascuro: Rose Comments and analysis of Chiarascuro: Rose by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
3285 Senlin: His Cloudy Destiny
3014 Turns And Movies: Dancing Adairs
2966 Senlin: His Dark Origins Comments and analysis of Senlin: His Dark Origins by Conrad Aiken 10 Comments
2809 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 01: As evening falls
2786 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 05: The Bitter Love-Song
2777 Turns And Movies: Zudora
2748 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 03: One, where the pale sea foamed at the yellow sand
2748 Turns And Movies: Rose And Murray
2713 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 07: The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light
2667 Turns And Movies: Violet Moore And Bert Moore
2608 Turns And Movies: Duval's Birds
2562 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 12: Witches' Sabbath Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 03: 12: Witches' Sabbath by Conrad Aiken 2 Comments
2505 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 08: The white fog creeps from the cold sea over the city
2461 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 13: The half-shut doors through which we heard that music
2439 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 05: Retrospect
2397 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 02: The Fulfilled Dream
2356 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 04: Counterpoint: Two Rooms
2342 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 10: Letter Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 03: 10: Letter by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
2306 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 03: Interlude Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 02: 03: Interlude by Conrad Aiken 8 Comments
2270 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 09: Interlude
2261 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 06: Portrait Of One Dead
2251 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 06: Adele And Davis Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 02: 06: Adele And Davis by Conrad Aiken 6 Comments
2218 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 07: Midnight; bells toll, and along the cloud-high towers
2197 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 05: The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 01: 05: The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
2183 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 05: Melody In A Restaurant
2159 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 11: Snow falls. The sky is grey, and sullenly glares
2113 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 06: Over the darkened city, the city of towers Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 01: 06: Over the darkened city, the city of towers by Conrad Aiken 2 Comments
2100 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 01: Clairvoyant
2087 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 06: Cinema Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 04: 06: Cinema by Conrad Aiken 197 Comments
2086 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 02: The Screen Maiden
2084 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 01: The round red sun heaves darkly out of the sea
2036 Senlin: His Futile Preoccupations
1958 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 08: Coffins: Interlude
1954 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 11: Conversation: Undertones
1930 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 02: Death: And A Derisive Chorus
1786 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 08: The Box With Silver Handles
694 A Letter From Li Po Comments and analysis of A Letter From Li Po by Conrad Aiken 14 Comments
669 The Window
583 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 07: Porcelain
480 Evening Song Of Senlin
410 Music I Heard Comments and analysis of Music I Heard by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
327 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 04: Nightmare
277 Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise The Rain
221 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 02: One, from his high bright window in a tower
218 The House Of Dust: Part 02: 07: Two Lovers: Overtones Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 02: 07: Two Lovers: Overtones by Conrad Aiken 5 Comments
204 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 04: Up high black walls, up sombre terraces
203 The House Of Dust: Part 01: 01: The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light
200 Turns And Movies: The Cornet
161 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 04: Illicit Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 03: 04: Illicit by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
154 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 03: Haunted Chambers
101 The House Of Dust: Part 03: 09: Cabaret
42 The House Of Dust: Part 04: 03: Palimpsest: A Deceitful Portrait Comments and analysis of The House Of Dust: Part 04: 03: Palimpsest: A Deceitful Portrait by Conrad Aiken 1 Comment
11 The Room


Books by Conrad Aiken
Click here for books by Conrad Aiken.
Aiken Info


Information
Copyright © 2000-2015 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links