American Writers (American Biographies) by Elizabeth H. Oakes

By Elizabeth H. Oakes

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His meteoric rise to fame, first as an author and then as a screenwriter, has given other Native Americans a model for success in literature and film unlike any they have previously seen. ” Sherman Alexie, an enrolled Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, was born on October 7, 1966. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane. Despite complications from being born hydrocephalic (with water on his brain), Alexie learned to read by the age of three and had read JOHN STEINBECK’s The Grapes of Wrath by the time he turned five.

Ashbery, John Ashbery, John (1927– ) poet, editor, novelist, playwright John Ashbery has often been described as one of the most important poets writing today in English. His poems are known for their modern, colloquial voices, but not for their ready accessibility. ” Like his professed favorite poet, WALLACE STEVENS, he has made it his concern to write about the workings of the mind, specifically the way the mind shapes reality. ” This may sometimes leave the reader cold, but when Ashbery’s characteristic irony is sharply honed, his work sparkles with imaginative language and grace.

His awards are numerous and include, in addition to the ones mentioned above, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Poetry in 1997; the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost Award in 1995; a MacArthur fellowship in 1985; and the Bollingen Prize in 1984. During his rise to stardom, Ashbery has continued to teach at Bard College and live in New York City. Further Reading Longenbach, James. “Ashbery and the Individual Talent,” American Literary History 9, no. 1 (spring 1997): 105.

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