Aiken, Conrad (Potter)
- Howard Niblock
(b Savannah, GA, Aug 5, 1889; d Savannah, GA, Aug 17, 1973). American poet. A prolific writer throughout most of his long career, he produced thirty-three volumes of poetry, five novels, five short story collections, two books of criticism, and a play. When Aiken was eleven years of age, his father killed his mother and then himself, and he spent the rest of his childhood with an aunt in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He became an admirer of Freud, and his works often stress psychological themes. Other influences include T. S. Eliot (a fellow student at Harvard) and Emily Dickinson (whose Selected Poems he edited in 1924). In many of his early poems, Aiken experimented with quasi-musical forms. Most notable among these are the six poetic sequences that he called “symphonies”: The Charnel Rose (1918), The Jig of Forslin (1916), The House of Dust (...