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Genevieve Taggard (1894–1948)

Author of The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson

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Genevieve Taggard was born in Waitsburg, Washington, and raised in Hawaii, where her parents worked as schoolteachers and missionaries. She began writing poetry at about age 13. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, joining left-wing political and literary circles. After graduating in 1919, she moved to New York City and settled in Greenwich Village. She worked for the publisher B. W. Huebsch and in 1921, she co-founded the literary journal Measure: A Journal of Verse, along with Maxwell Anderson. That same year, she married fellow poet and novelist Robert L. Wolf, with whom she had a daughter. Her awards and honors included a 1931 Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed her to travel in Europe and spend some time living on the island of Mallorca. The experience was reflected in more political awareness and focus on human rights issues in her work. She taught at Mount Holyoke College, Bennington College, and Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems were published in national publications such as The New Yorker, The Nation, The Kenyon Review, and The New Republic, and appear in many major anthologies. Her 13 poetry collections included For Eager Lovers (1922), Calling Western Union (1936), and Not Mine to Finish: Poems 1928–1934 (1934). She also wrote a biography, The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson (1930). After a divorce from Wolf, she married Kenneth Durant, a pro-Soviet journalist, and became a member of the Communist Party. She died in 1948 at age 53 from the long-term effects of chronic hypertension.
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