Marianne Moore

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MM was a pivotal figure in US poetry of the twentieth century. A recent editor has written that no major poet is cherished more and known less from that period in America.
Moore, Marianne. “Introduction”. The Poems of Marianne Moore, edited by Grace Schulman, Faber, 2003, p. xix - xxx.
xix
As well as poetry, MM wrote translations, essays, criticism, and personal letters. She had an influential period as editor of the modernist journal the Dial. Her poems are characterised by precise, irregular, unrhymed verse forms and minutely detailed observation, often of semi-mythical animals used as ways of talking about the human condition. Always reluctant to let her work go out of her hands, and often self-deprecating about it, she published few books and let much of her poetry remain in periodicals.
Black and white photograph of Marianne Moore, standing against a bookshelf. Her grey hair is in a plait round her head; she wears a large dark jacket over a grey suit, collared shirt, and bow-tie.
"Marianne Moore" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/Marianne_Moore_1948_hires.jpg/601px-Marianne_Moore_1948_hires.jpg. null

Milestones

15 November 1887
MM was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, in the bedroom her mother had had as a child. She was the younger of two children; her elder brother was very important to her.
Molesworth, Charles. Marianne Moore: A Literary Life. Atheneum, 1990.
1
Williams, Mary-Kay. “What a Mother”. London Review of Books, No. 23, p. 19021.
19
25 December 1895
MM wrote and dated her earliest poem, whose first, unrhyming line serves as its title: Dear St. Nicklus.
Abbott, Craig S. Marianne Moore: A Descriptive Bibliography. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977.
123
Moore, Marianne. The Poems of Marianne Moore. Schulman, GraceEditor , Faber, 2003.
2-3
July 1919
MM published in the New York little magazine Others the poem entitled Poetry (later several times revised).
Abbott, Craig S. Marianne Moore: A Descriptive Bibliography. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977.
150
5 February 1972
MM died at Lenox Hill Hospital in the city of New York, after several years disabled by a major stroke.
Molesworth, Charles. Marianne Moore: A Literary Life. Atheneum, 1990.
450
Moore, Marianne. The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore. Costello, Bonnie, Celeste Goodridge, and Cristanne MillerEditors , Knopf, 1997.
491

Biography

In talking and writing to her mother and brother MM deployed literally dozens of different nicknames. Sometimes she and her brother used paired names (her Ratty to his Badger, her Gator to his Turtle); sometimes they shared the same name, and several of those attached to her were male names used with masculine pronouns.

Birth and Family