1650 Anne Bradstreet’s The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America: By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts published in London.
1773 Phillis Wheatley, a slave, publishes Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral
1791 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is published in Paris, in French. Ben Franklin’s Autobiography appears in London, for the first time in English, two years later. Had it been published in America, the Europeans would have laughed. The American experiment isn’t going to last, anyway.
Franklin, the practical man, the scientist, and America’s true founding father, weighs in on poetry: it’s frivolous.
1794 Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey make plans to go to Pennsylvania in a communal living experiment, but their personalities clash and the plan is aborted. Southey becomes British Poet Laureate twenty years later.
1803 William Blake, author of “America: A Prophecy” is accused of crying out “Damn the King!” in Sussex, England, narrowly escaping imprisonment for treason.
1815 George Ticknor, before becoming literature Chair at Harvard, travels to Europe for 4 years, spending 17 months in Germany.
1817 “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant appears in the North American Review.
1824 Byron dies in Greece.
1824 Lafayette, during tour of U.S, calls on Edgar Poe’s grandmother, revolutionary war veteran widow.
1832 Washington Irving edits London edition of William Cullen Bryant’s Poems to avoid politically offending British readers.
1835 Massachusetts senator and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier mobbed and stoned in Concord, New Hampshire.
1835 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow appointed Smith Professor of Modern Languages at Harvard.
1836 Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes 500 copies of Divinity School Address anonymously. He will not publish another book for 6 years.
1838 Poe’s translated work begins appearing in Russia.
1843 Transcendentalist, Unitarian minister, Harvard Divinity School student Christopher Pearse Cranch marries the sister of T.S. Eliot’s Unitarian grandfather; dedicates Poems to Emerson, published in The Dial, a magazine edited by Margaret Fuller and Emerson; frequent visitor to Brook Farm. Cranch is more musical and sensuous than Emerson; even Poe can tolerate him; Cranch’s poem “Enosis” pre-figures Baudelaire’s “Correspondences.”
T.S. Eliot’s family is deeply rooted in New England Unitarianism and Transcendentalism through Cranch and Emerson’s connection to his grandfather, Harvard Divinity graduate, William Greenleaf Eliot, founder of Washington U., St. Louis.
1845 Elizabeth Barrett writes Poe with news of “The Raven’s” popularity in England. The poem appeared in a daily American newspaper and produced instant fame, though Poe’s reputation as a critic and leader of the Magazine Era was well-established. During this period Poe coins “Heresy of the Didactic” and “A Long Poem Does Not Exist.” In a review of Barrett’s 1840 volume of poems which led to Barrett’s fame before she met Robert Browning, Poe introduced his piece by saying he would not, as was typically done, review her work superficially because she was a woman.
1847 Ralph Waldo Emerson is in England, earning his living as an orator.
1848 Charles Baudelaire’s first translations of Poe appear in France.
1848 James Russell Lowell publishes “A Fable For Critics” anonymously.
1848 Female Poets of America, an anthology of poems by American women, is published by the powerful and influential anthologist, Rufus Griswold—who believes women naturally write a different kind of poetry. Griswold’s earlier success, The Poets and Poetry of America (1842) contains 3 poems by Poe and 45 by Griswold’s friend, Charles Fenno Hoffman. In a review, Poe remarks that readers of anthologies buy them to see if they are in them.
1848 Poe publishes Eureka and the Rationale of Verse, exceptional works on the universe and verse.
1849 Edgar Poe is murdered in Baltimore; leading periodicals ignore strange circumstances of Poe’s death and one, Horace Greeley’s Tribune, hires Griswold (who signs his piece ‘Ludwig’) to take the occasion to attack the character of the poet.
1855 Griswold reviews Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and calls it a “mass of stupid filth.” The hated Griswold, whose second “wife” was a man, also lets the world know in his review that Whitman is a homosexual. Whitman later includes the Griswold review in one of his editions of Leaves.
1856 English Traits, extolling the English race and the English people, saying it was English “character” that vanquished India, is published in the U.S. and England, by poet and new age priest Ralph Waldo Emerson, as England waits for the inevitable Civil War to tear her rival, America, apart.
1859. In a conversation with William Dean Howells, Emerson calls Hawthorne’s latest book “mush” and furiously calls Poe “the jingle man.”
1860 William Cullen Bryant introduces Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union; the poet advises the new president on his cabinet selection.
1867 First collection of African American “Slave Songs” published.
1883 “The New Colossus” is composed by Emma Lazarus; engraved on the Statue of Liberty, 1903
1883 Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox rejected by publisher on grounds of immorality.
1888 “Casey at the Bat” published anonymously. The author, Ernest Thayer, does not become known as the author of the poem until 1909.
1890 Emily Dickinson’s posthumous book published by Mabel Todd and Thomas Higginson. William Dean Howells gives it a good review, and it sells well.
1893 William James, Emerson’s godson, becomes Gertrude Stein’s influential professor at Harvard.
1897 Wallace Stevens enters Harvard, falling under the spell of William James, as well as George Santayana.
1904 Yone Noguchi publishes “Proposal to American Poets” as the Haiku and Imagism rage begins in the United States and Britain.
1910 John Crowe Ransom, Fugitive, Southern Agrarian, New Critic, takes a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.
1910 John Lomax publishes “Cowboy Songs and Frontier Ballads.”
1912 Harriet Monroe founds Poetry magazine; in 1880s attended literary gatherings in New York with William Dean Howells and Richard Henry Stoddard (Poe biographer) and in 1890s met Whistler, Henry James, Thomas Hardy and Aubrey Beardsley. Ezra Pound is Poetry’s London editor.
1913 American Imagist poet H.D. marries British Imagist poet Richard Aldington.
1914 Ezra Pound works as Yeats‘ secretary in Sussex, England.
1915 Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology published. Masters was law partner of Clarence Darrow.
1917 Robert Frost begins teaching at Amherst College.
1920 “The Sacred Wood” by T.S. Eliot, banker, London.
1921 Margaret Anderson’s Little Review loses court case and is declared obscene for publishing a portion of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is banned in the United States. Random House immediately tries to get the ban lifted in order to publish the work.
1922 T.S.Eliot’s “The Waste Land” awarded The Dial Prize.
1922 D.H Lawrence and Frieda stay with Mabel Dodge in Taos, New Mexico.
1923 Edna St. Vincent Millay wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1923 William Butler Yeats wins Nobel Prize for Literature
1924 Robert Frost wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
1924 Ford Madox Ford founds the Transatlantic Review. Stays with Allen Tate and Robert Lowell in his lengthy sojourn to America.
1924 Marianne Moore wins The Dial Prize; becomes editor of The Dial the next year.
1924 James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children opens.
1925 E.E. Cummings wins The Dial Prize.
1926 Yaddo Artist Colony opens
1927 Walt Whitman biography wins Pulitzer Prize
1930 “I’ll Take My Stand” published by Fugitive/Southern Agrarians and future New Critics, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, Cleanth Brooks, Allan Tate defend ways of the Old South.
1932 Paul Engle wins Yale Younger Poet Prize, judged by member of John Crowe Ransom’s Fugitive circle. Engle, a prolific fundraiser, builds the Iowa Workshop into a Program Writing Empire.
1933 T.S. Eliot delivers his speech on “free-thinking jews” at the University of Virginia.
1934 “Is Verse A Dying Technique?” published by Edmund Wilson.
1936 New Directions founded by Harvard sophomore James Laughlin.
1937 Robert Lowell camps out in Allen Tate’s yard. Lowell has left Harvard to study with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College.
1938 First Edition of textbook Understanding Poetry by Fugitives Brooks and Warren, helps to canonize unread poets like Williams and Pound.
1938 Aldous Huxley moves to Hollywood.
1939 Allen Tate starts Writing Program at Princeton.
1939 W.H. Auden moves to the United States and earns living as college professor.
1940 Mark Van Doren is awarded Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
1943 Ezra Pound indicted for treason by the United States government.
1946 Wallace Stegner founds Stanford Writing Program. Yvor Winters will teach Pinsky, Haas, Hall and Gunn.
1948 Pete Seeger, nephew of WW I poet Alan Seeger (“I Have A Rendevous With Death”) forms The Weavers, the first singer-songwriter ‘band’ in the rock era.
1948 T.S. Eliot wins Nobel Prize
1949 T.S. Eliot attacks Poe in From Poe To Valery
1949 Ezra Pound is awarded the Bollingen Prize. The poet Robert Hillyer protests and Congress resolves its Library will no longer fund the award. Hillyer accuses Paul Melon, T.S. Eliot and New Critics of a fascist conspiracy.
1950 William Carlos Williams wins first National Book Award for Poetry
1950 Gwendolyn Brooks wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1951 John Crowe Ransom is awarded the Bollingen.
1953 Dylan Thomas dies in New York City.
1954 Theodore Roethke wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1957 Allen Tate is awarded the Bollingen.
1957 “Howl” by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg triumphs in obscenity trial as the judge finds book “socially redeeming;” wins publicity in Time & Life.
1957 New Poets of England and America, Donald Hall, Robert Pack, Louis Simspon, eds.
1959 Carl Sandburg wins Grammy for Best Performance – Documentary Or Spoken Word (Other Than Comedy) for his recording of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the New York Philharmonic.
1959 M.L Rosenthal coins the term “Confessional Poetry” in The Nation as he pays homage to Robert Lowell.
1960 New American Poetry 1945-1960, Donald Allen, editor.
1961 Yvor Winters is awarded the Bollingen.
1961 Denise Levertov becomes poetry editor of The Nation.
1961 Louis Untermeyer appointed Poet Laureate Consultant In Poetry To the Library of Congress (1961-63)
1962 Sylvia Plath takes her own life in London.
1964 John Crowe Ransom wins The National Book Award for Selected Poems.
1964 Keats biography by Jackson Bate wins Pulitzer.
1965 Horace Gregory is awarded the Bollingen. Gregory had attacked the poetic reputation of Edna Millay.
1967 Anne Sexton wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1968 Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, directed by Zeffirelli, nominated for Best Picture by Hollywood.
1971 The Pound Era by Hugh Kenner published. Kenner, a friend of William F. Buckley, Jr., saved Pound’s reputation with this work; Kenner also savaged the reputation of Edna Millay.
1971 W.S Merwin wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1972 John Berryman jumps to his death off bridge near University of Minnesota.
Berryman, the most “Romantic” of the New Critics (he was educated by them) is considered by far the best Workshop teacher by many prize-winning poets he taught, such as Phil Levine, Snodgrass, and Don Justice. Berryman’s classes in the 50’s were filled with future prize-winners, not because he and his students were great, but because his students were on the ground-floor of the Writing Program era, the early, heady days of pyramid scheme mania—characterized by Berryman’s imbalanced, poetry-is-everything personality.
1972 Frank O’Hara wins National Book Award for Collected Poems
1975 Gary Snyder wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1976 Humboldt’s Gift, Saul Bellow’s novel on Delmore Schwartz, wins Pulitzer.
1978 Language magazine, Bernstein & Andrews, begins 4 year run. Bernstein studied J.L Austin’s brand of ‘ordinary language philosophy’ at Harvard.
1980 Helen Vendler wins National Book Critics Circle Award
1981 Seamus Heaney becomes Harvard visiting professor.
1981 Derek Walcott founds Boston Playwrights’ Theater at Boston University.
1981 Oscar Wilde biography by Ellman wins Pulitzer.
1982 Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems wins Pulitzer.
1984 Harold Bloom savagely attacks Poe in review of Poe’s Library of America works (2 vol) in New York Review of Books, repeating similar attacks by Aldous Huxley and T.S. Eliot.
1984 Marc Smith founds Slam Poetry in Chicago.
1984 Mary Oliver is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1986 Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, a novel in verse, is published.
1987 The movie “Barfly” depicts life of Charles Bukowski.
1988 David Lehman’s Best American Poetry Series debuts with John Ashbery as first guest editor. The first words of the first poem (by A.R. Ammons) in the Series are: William James.
1991 “Can Poetry Matter?” by Dana Gioia is published in The Atlantic. According to the author, poetry has become an incestuous viper’s pit of academic hucksters.
1996 Jorie Graham wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1999 Peter Sacks wins Georgia Prize.
1999 Billy Collins signs 3-book, 6-figure deal with Random House.
2002 Ron Silliman’s Blog founded.
2002 Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club wins Pulitzer Prize.
2002 Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems published.
2004 Foetry.com founded by Alan Cordle. Shortly before his death, Robert Creeley defends his poetry colleagues on Foetry.com.
2004 Franz Wright wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
2005 Ted Kooser wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
2005 William Logan wins National Book Critics Circle Award
2006 Fulcrum No. 5 appears, featuring works of Landis Everson and his editor, Ben Mazer, also Eliot Weinberger, Glyn Maxwell, Joe Green, and Marjorie Perloff.
2007 Joan Houlihan dismisses Foetry.com as “losers” in a Poets & Writers letter. Defends the integrity of both Georgia and Tupelo, failing to mention Levine is her publisher and business partner.
2007 Paul Muldoon succeeds Alice Quinn as poetry editor of The New Yorker.
2008 Poets & Writers bans Thomas Brady and Christopher Woodman from its Forum. The Academy of American Poetry On-Line Editor, Robin Beth Schaer, is shortlisted for the Snowbound Series prize by Tupelo at the same time as Poets.org bans Christopher Woodman for mentioning the P&W letter as well.
2009 The Program Era by Mark McGurl, published by Harvard University Press
2009 Following the mass banning of Alan Cordle, Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords and Christopher Woodman from Harriet, the blog of The Poetry Foundation, a rival poetry site is formed: Scarriet.