poem index


James Schuyler

1923-1991 , Chicago , IL , United States
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James Schuyler
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James Marcus Schuyler was born on November 9, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Bethany College from 1941 to 1943 where he studied architecture, history, and literature, before joining the U.S. Navy.

In 1947, Schuyler moved to the Isle of Ischia in Italy for two years, where he lived in the rented house of W.H. Auden and worked as his secretary. Returning to America, Schuyler moved to New York, where he worked in a bookstore and shared an apartment with Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery, poets who later became known as the New York School.

From 1955 to 1961 he was a curator of circulating exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art. As an editorial associate and critic for Art News he wrote a substantial amount of art criticism and came to befriend many New York artists, notably Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Jane Freilicher, and Fairfield Porter.

Between 1961 and 1973, Schuyler lived with Porter and his family in Southampton, Long Island, and their summer home on an island off the coast of Maine. He received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1972. Although well-known and successful by the early 1980s, Schuyler turned to a life of seclusion due to his poor health and financial difficulties. Schuyler lived in New York City until his death in 1991.

Schuyler's books of poetry include Other Flowers (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010); Collected Poems (1995); Selected Poems (1988); A Few Days (1985); The Morning of the Poem (1980), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; The Home Book (1977); The Fireproof Floors of Witley Count: English Songs and Dances (1976); Song (1976); Hymn to Life (1974); The Crystal Lithium (1972); and Freely Espousing (1969); he also wrote novels and plays. His honors include a Longview Foundation award, the Frank O'Hara Prize, two National Academy for the Arts grants, an American Academy award, and an Academy of American Poets fellowship.

by this poet

I do not always understand what you say.
Once, when you said, across, you meant along.
What is, is by its nature, on display.

Words' meanings count, aside from what they weigh:
poetry, like music, is not just song.
I do not always understand what you say.

You would hate, when with me, to meet by day
What at
for Trevor Winkfield
December 26, 1970

The wind tears up the sun
and scatters it in snow.
The sky smiles and out
of its mouth drifts free
a milk tooth which of itself
glides under the pillow
of a cloud. The Tooth Fairy
knows where to look and when
to lock away the leaves
How about an oak leaf
if you had to be a leaf?
Suppose you had your life to live over
knowing what you know?
Suppose you had plenty money

"Get away from me you little fool."

Evening of a day in early March,
you are like the smell of drains
in a restaurant where paté maison
is a slab of cold meat loaf
damp and