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Willa Cather

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Willa Cather

Willa Cather was born in Virginia on December 7, 1873. Her family moved to Nebraska in 1883, ultimately settling in the town of Red Cloud, where the National Willa Cather Center is located today. She attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Cather moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1896 to pursue a career in journalism and work for the women's magazine Home Monthly. After a few years, she took a break to teach high school English and focus on her creative writing. In 1903 she published her first book, April Twilights (The Gorham Press), a collection of poems, and began writing and publishing short stories. In 1906, she moved to New York City to take an editorial position at McClure's Magazine, where she worked until 1911 when she left to again focus on her creative writing. 

She is the author of twenty books and best know for her works of fiction, including Death Comes for the Archbishop (Alfred A. Knopf, 1927); One of Ours (Alfred A. Knopf, 1922), which won the Pulitzer Prize; My Antonia (Houghton Mifflin, 1918); and O, Pioneers! (Houghton Mifflin, 1913).

Cather was awarded a gold medal in fiction by the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1944. She died in New York City on April 24, 1947, and is memorialized at the American Poets' Corner at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
April Twilights, and Other Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1923)
April Twilights (The Gorham Press, 1903)

Prose
On Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art (Alfred A. Knopf, 1949)
The Old Beauty, and Others (Alfred A. Knopf, 1948)
Sapphira and the Slave Girl (Alfred A. Knopf, 1940)
The Novels and Stories of Willa Cather (Houghton Mifflin, 1937)
Not Under Forty (Alfred A. Knopf, 1936)
Lucy Gayheart (Alfred A. Knopf, 1935)
Shadows on the Rock (Alfred A. Knopf, 1931)
Death Comes for the Archbishop (Alfred A. Knopf, 1927)
The Professor's House (Alfred A. Knopf, 1925)
My Mortal Enemy (Alfred A. Knopf, 1926)
One of Ours (Alfred A. Knopf, 1922)
Youth and the Bright Medusa (Alfred A. Knopf, 1920)
My Ántonia (Houghton Mifflin, 1918)
The Song of the Lark (Houghton Mifflin, 1915)
O Pioneers! (Houghton Mifflin, 1913)
Alexander's Bridge (Houghton Mifflin, 1912)
The Troll Garden (McClure, Phillips & Co., 1905)

by this poet

poem
Alas, that June should come when thou didst go;
I think you passed each other on the way;
And seeing thee, the Summer loved thee so
That all her loveliness she gave away;
Her rare perfumes, in hawthorn boughs distilled,
Blushing, she in thy sweeter bosom left,
poem
Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all
poem
A bitter doom they did upon her place:
She might not touch his hand nor see his face
The while he led her up from death and dreams
Into his world of bright Arcadian streams.
For all of him she yearned to touch and see,
Only the sweet ghost of his melody;