poem index


Witter Bynner

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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.

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)

by this poet

Outside hove Shasta, snowy height on height,
A glory; but a negligible sight,
For you had often seen a mountain-peak
There is no denying
That it matters little,
When through a narrow door
We enter a room together,
Which goes after, which before.
Perhaps you are not dying:
Perhaps—there is no knowing—
I shall slip by and turn and laugh with 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.