Photo courtesy of Perdita Schaffner/New Directions
On September 10, 1886, Hilda Doolittle was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She attended Bryn Mawr, as a classmate of Marianne Moore, and later the University of Pennsylvania where she befriended Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams.
She travelled to Europe in 1911, intending to spend only a summer, but remained abroad for the rest of her life.
Through Pound, H. D. grew interested in and quickly became a leader of the Imagist movement. Some of her earliest poems gained recognition when they were published by Harriet Monroe in Poetry.
Her work is characterized by the intense strength of her images, economy of language, and use of classical mythology. Her poems did not receive widespread appreciation and acclaim during her lifetime, in part because her name was associated with the Imagist movement even as her voice had outgrown the movement's boundaries, as evidenced by her book-length works, Trilogy and Helen in Egypt.
As Alicia Ostriker said in American Poetry Review, "H.D. by the end of her career became not only the most gifted woman poet of our century, but one of the most original poets—the more I read her the more I think this—in our language."
Neglect of H. D. can also be attributed to her times, as many of her poems spoke to an audience which was unready to respond to the strong feminist principles articulated in her work. She died in 1961.
A Selected Bibliography
Sea Garden (1916)
The God (1917)
Heliodora and Other Poems (1924)
Hippolytus Temporizes (1927)
Red Roses From Bronze (1932)
The Walls Do Not Fall (1944)
Tribute to the Angels (1945)
Flowering of the Rod (1946)
By Avon River (1949)
Helen in Egypt (1961)
Hermetic Definition (1972)
Notes on Thought and Vision (1919)
Paint it Today (written 1921, published 1992)
Asphodel (written 1921-22, published 1992))
Kora and Ka (1930)
The Hedgehog (1936)
Tribute to Freud (1956)
Bid Me to Live (1960)
End to Torment (1979)
The Gift (1982)