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date: 18 November 2019

Goodman, Paul locked

  • Ned Rorem

Extract

(b New York, NY, Sept 9, 1911; d North Stratford, NH, Aug 8, 1972). American poet. A student of philosophy and literature at the City College of New York (BA 1931) and later at the University of Chicago (1936–40), he received the PhD with the publication of The Structure of Literature (1954). He held various teaching positions but became known principally as a social reformer, with interests ranging from city planning to psychotherapy. He was also innately musical, admiring Beethoven above all other composers, and something of a self-taught composer himself.

Goodman’s published writings include novels, short stories, biographies, plays, and social and literary criticism; he enjoyed particular recognition in the 1960s after the publication of Growing Up Absurd (1960). But it is probably as a poet that he will be remembered. The controlled sadness evident in his verse, as well as his invention of a convenient stanzaic form—the “little prayer” (two tetrametric quatrains, strophe and antistrophe, with ...

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