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About this poet

Witter Bynner was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1881. He graduated from Harvard University in 1902. After college, he worked as a newspaper reporter and, later, as the assistant editor of McClure’s magazine.

Bynner published his first poetry collection, An Ode to Harvard (Small, Maynard, & Co.), in 1907. He was also the author of New Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), Take Away the Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), The Beloved Stranger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1919), Tiger (M. Kennerley, 1913), and several other poetry collections.

He was also known for his work in translation, including The Way of Life According to Laotzu: An American Version (John Day Co., 1944), and a literary biography, Journey with Genius: Recollections and Reflections Concerning the D. H. Lawrences (J. Day Co, 1951).

In 1916, he and Arthur David Ficke published Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, under the pseudonyms Emanuel Morgan and Anne Krish. The book included poems and a manifesto on “spectrism,” a parody of Imagism. In 1918, Bynner admitted that the book was a hoax.

In 1922, he settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his partner, Robert Hunt. He died there on June 1, 1968.


Selected Bibliography

New Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1960)
Book of Lyrics (Alfred A. Knopf, 1955)
Take Away the Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1947)
Against the Cold (Alfred A. Knopf, 1940)
Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1936)
Indian Earth (Alfred A. Knopf, 1929)
Caravan (Alfred A. Knopf, 1925)
A Canticle of Pan (Alfred A. Knopf, 1920)
The Beloved Stranger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1919)
Grenstone Poems, A Sequence (Frederick A. Stokes, 1917)
The New World (M. Kennerley, 1915)
The Little King (M. Kennerley, 1914)
Tiger (M. Kennerley, 1913)
An Ode to Harvard (Small, Maynard, & Co., 1907)

At the Touch of You

 
At the touch of you,	
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,	
The arrows of delight shot through my body.	
 
You were spring,	
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me. 

 This poem is in the public domain.

 This poem is in the public domain.

Witter Bynner

Witter Bynner

Witter Bynner was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1881. He graduated from Harvard University in 1902. After college, he worked as a newspaper reporter and, later, as the assistant editor of McClure’s magazine.

Bynner published his first poetry collection, An Ode to Harvard (Small, Maynard, & Co.), in 1907. He was also the author of New Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), Take Away the Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), The Beloved Stranger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1919), Tiger (M. Kennerley, 1913), and several other poetry collections.

by this poet

poem
Words are hoops
Through which to leap upon meanings,
Which are horses’ backs,
Bare, moving.
poem
Outside hove Shasta, snowy height on height,
A glory; but a negligible sight,
For you had often seen a mountain-peak
poem
Except within poetic pale
   I have not found a nightingale,
Nor hearkened in a dusky vale
   To song and silence blending;
No stock-dove have I ever heard,
Nor listened to a cuckoo-bird,
   Nor seen a lark ascending.
But I have felt a pulse-beat start
   Because a robin, spending
The utmost of his simple art