Marianne Moore

1887 (Kirkwood, Mo.) – 1972 (New York)

A major modernist poet, whose puritan modesty was matched by a gusto for life. She worked briefly for Dewey, and found her first collection published (a friendly surprise) by H.D. She was Bishop’s first important supporter – they visited the circus on first meeting, pinching some elephant’s hair – and corresponded and advised on everything. Plath and Ted Hughes climbed her stairs, Cornell (similarly emotionally reserved) sent her books as a valentine, Lowell watched baseball with her. Among her many close correspondents, Eliot gave her a footstool and Cummings a painting of a yellow rose. She wondered whether Avedon could improve her eyebrows.

Marianne Moore knew…