poem index

poet

Daniel Hoffman

1923-2013 , New York City , NY , United States
Chancellor 1972-1997
Daniel Hoffman

Daniel Hoffman was born in New York City on April 3, 1923. He published numerous books of poetry, most recently, The Whole Nine Yards: Longer Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2009) and Makes You Stop and Think: Sonnets (George Braziller, 2005). Other titles by Hoffman include Beyond Silence: Selected Shorter Poems 1948-2003 (2003); Darkening Water (2002); Middens of the Tribe (1995); Hang-Gliding from Helicon: New and Selected Poems, 1948-1988, winner of the 1988 Paterson Poetry Prize; Brotherly Love, (1981) a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award nominee; The Center of Attention (1974); Broken Laws (1970); Striking the Stones (1968); The City of Satisfactions (1963); A Little Geste and Other Poems (1960); and An Armada of Thirty Whales (1954), chosen by W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Hoffman adapted Brotherly Love as the libretto for Ezra Laderman's oratorio (2000), and published his translation from the Italian of Ruth Domino's A Play of Mirrors (2002).

Hoffman also wrote Zone of the Interior: A Memoir, 1942-1947 (2000) and seven volumes of criticism, which include Words to Create a World: Interviews, Essays, and Reviews on Contemporary Poetry (1993); Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe (1971), which was nominated for a National Book Award; Barbarous Knowledge: Myth in the Poetry of Yeats, Graves, and Muir (1967); Form and Fable in American Fiction (1961); and The Poetry of Stephen Crane (1957).

In describing Hoffman's poems, Stephen Dunn said, "In them is a lifetime of careful observance, the voice rarely raised yet passionate in its precisions, the man behind it enough a lover of life to have been properly critical of the way we've lived it."

He received the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry from The Sewanee Review, the Hazlett Memorial Award, the Memorial Medal of the Maygar P.E.N. for his translations of contemporary Hungarian poetry, grants from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2005, Hoffman received the Arthur Rense Poetry Prize "for an exceptional poet" from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Hoffman served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1973 to 1974 (the appointment now called the Poet Laureate) and was a Chancellor Emeritus of the Academy of American Poets. From 1988 to 1999 Hoffman was Poet in Residence at St. John the Divine, where he administered the American Poets' Corner. Until 1996, he taught as the Felix E. Schelling Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where he also resides.

Hoffman died on March 30, 2013 in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He was 89.


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by this poet

poem
One searches roads receding, endlessly receding, receding.
The other opens all doors with the same key.  Simple.

One's quick to wrath, the wronged, the righteous, the wroth
   kettledrum.
The other loafs by the river, idles and jiggles his line.

One conspired against statues on stilts, in his pocket
The plot
poem

Arriving at last

It has stumbled across the harsh
Stones, the black marshes.

True to itself, by what craft
And strength it has, it has come
As a sole survivor returns

From the steep pass.
Carved on memory's staff
The legend is nearly decipherable.
poem
They always start with quick and eager strides
--Even the one on crutches--up the hill.
The long-legged and the young soon reach the bend,
Then reappear above the heads of slower
Earnest pilgrims puffing up the slope.
Those at the parapet stand, statuesque,
Their tiny silhouettes nicking the sky.
See, some now