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Jean Starr Untermeyer

Jean Starr Untermeyer
Jean Starr Untermeyer.jpg
Born(1886-03-13)March 13, 1886
DiedJuly 12, 1970(1970-07-12) (aged 84)

Jean Starr Untermeyer (March 13, 1886 – July 27, 1970)[1] was an American poet, translator, and educator. She was the author of six volumes of poetry and a memoir. She was married to the poet Louis Untermeyer.

Biography

Starr was born into a well-off Jewish family[2] in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of Abram Starr and Johanna Starr (née Schonfeld), the oldest of three siblings.[3] Her maternal grandparents were immigrants from Germany.[3]

Starr was educated at Kohut College Preparatory School for Girls, in New York City, and then entered Columbia University.[3] While still in college, she met the poet Louis Untermeyer, whom she married, on January 23, 1907, without finishing her degree. In December of the same year the couple's son Richard was born.[3]

Through her marriage Jean Untermeyer came into contact with many poets and, especially inspired by hearing a reading of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, she began writing poetry privately.[4] When her husband read her poems he was impressed by them and, on her behalf, submitted them to several magazines that accepted them for publication; with his support, her first book of poems, Growing Pains, was published by B. W. Huebsch in 1918.[5][3] Huebsch also published her next book, Dreams Out of Darkness, in 1921.

Early on Untermeyer aspired to be a singer, and in 1924 made her debut in Berlin and Vienna singing Lieder.[5] The performances were not well received, and she did not further pursue a musical career. She had traveled to Europe with her husband, and they then returned to the United States.[3] They spent the summer of 1925 at the MacDowell artists' colony.[3]

The Untermeyers divorced in 1926. In 1927 their son, Richard, who was 19 years old and in his sophomore year at Yale University,[5] committed suicide in his room at school.[3]

Jean and Louis Untermeyer reconciled several years later and remarried, after Louis had been married and divorced a second time.[3] They adopted two sons; however, they eventually separated again, with Louis agreeing to take custody of their sons,[3] and the marriage ended once and for all in divorce, around 1933.[6]

Jean Starr Untermeyer continued to write poetry, publishing several further collections, including Winged Child (1936). Her poems are often traditional in form, with subtle, intricate harmonies;[3] drawing inspiration from both nature and domestic life, they explore themes related to self-discipline and loss.[4]

She visited the MacDowell Colony again in 1938. In 1939, during a stay at Yaddo, the writers' and artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, she met the German author Hermann Broch, with whom she struck up a complex collaboration, as she worked on translating Broch's novel Der Tod des Vergil.[2] Her translation, The Death of Virgil, was published in 1946.

Untermeyer later taught at Olivet College, in Michigan, and at the New School for Social Research, in New York City.[4]

Works

Poetry collections

  • Growing Pains (1918)
  • Dreams Out of Darkness (1921)
  • Steep Ascent (1927)
  • The Winged Child (1936)
  • Love and Need: Collected Poems, 1918–1940 (1940)
  • Later Poems (1958)
  • Job's Daughter (1967)

Memoir

  • Private Collection (1965)

Translations

  • Oscar Bie, Schubert, the Man (1928). Biography; translated from the German
  • Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil (1946). Novel; translated from the German
  • Recreations (1970). Translations of poems from the French, German, and Hebrew

References

  1. ^ "Jean Starr Untermeyer." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Retrieved via Biography in Context database 2016-07-05.
  2. ^ a b Hargraves, John (2003). "'Beyond Words': The Translation of Broch's Der Tod des Virgil by Jean Starr Untermeyer". In: Paul Michael Lützeler, Hermann Broch, Visionary in Exile: The 2001 Yale Symposium. Rochester, NY: Camden House. ISBN 9781571132727. p. 217-230; here: p. 217.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Tillona, Francesca (March 20, 2009). "Jean Starr Untermeyer." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. Jewish Women's Archive. www.jwa.org. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  4. ^ a b c "Jean Starr Untermeyer." The Poetry Foundation. www.poetryfoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  5. ^ a b c "Jean Starr Unterrneyer Dead; Poet, Translator and Teacher (July 29, 1970). New York Times.
  6. ^ "Louis Untermeyer Weds; Poet and Critic Marries Esther Antin, Toledo Lawyer" (August 13, 1933). New York Times.

External links


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