A best seller in his lifetime though neglected in recent years, Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) is due to be restored to his rightful place in literary history as one of the first great American Modernist poets. His poetry was revolutionary, though it looked deceptively conventional because it was written in metre and rhyme. He cast aside the stiff archaism and prettiness favoured by his contemporaries, instead employing everyday language with dramatic power, wit, and sensitivity. His lyric poems illuminate ordinary people, especially the downtrodden, the bereft, and the mistunderstood. In the process he created the gallery of character portraits for which he is most fondly remembered, among them Eben Flood, Aunt Imogen, Isaac and Archibald, Miniver Cheevy and Richard Cory.
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