Simpson, Louis

Simpson, Louis, 1923–2012, American poet, b. Kingston, Jamaica, grad. Columbia (B.S., 1948; Ph.D., 1959). He was an infantryman in World War II, and was a professor at the Univ. of California at Berkeley in the 1950s and 60s. From 1967 to the 1990s he taught at the State Univ. of New York, Stony Brook. Using experience—frequently drawn from his childhood in Jamaica in his earlier work and later reflecting ordinary daily American life—Simpson wrote finely crafted poems that are often witty, rueful, and grave. His volumes of poetry include The Arrivistes: Poems 1940–48 (1949), At the End of the Open Road (1963; Pulitzer Prize), North of Jamaica (1972), Searching for the Ox (1976), The Best Hour of the Night (1983), People Live Here: Selected Poems 1949–1983 (1984), and The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems, 1940–2001 (2003). He also wrote literary criticism, notably Three on the Tower (1975).

See his Selected Prose (1989); study by H. Lazer, ed. (1988).

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