JANUARY LITERARY BIRTHDAYS

(Complete list of January authors here.)

Featured Authors


Carl Sandburg, Illinois poet and Lincoln biographer, 6 Jan. 1878 - 22 July 1967

Sandburg is probably best known for his poem about fog (which 'comes on little cat feet'), or for his characterisations of Chicago ('Hog butcher for the world'), but it's for his biography of Abraham Lincoln that he won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize. An overview of Sandburg's life and work is available online, as well as a chronology of his life, his Chicago poems (through Bartleby), info about Sandburg's home through the National Park Service website, and Modern American Poetry's Sandburg page, with a biography, essays, and poems.

[John] Robinson Jeffers, U.S. poet and playwright, 10 Jan. 1887 - 20 Jan. 1962

Jeffers was born in Pittsburgh, studied forestry, medicine, and other subjects in California, Washington, and Zurich colleges, and settled in 1919 in California, where he and his family built a house in Carmel. The constant theme of his poetry is mankind's worthlessness and nature's beauty and strength. Works include Tamar and Other Poems (1924), Roan Stallion (1925), Cawdor and Other Poems (1928), Dear Judas and Other Poems (1929), Descent to the Dead (1931), Thurso's Landing and Other Poems (1932), Give Your Heart to the Hawks (1933), Solstice and Other Poems (1935), The Double Axe and Other Poems (1948), and Hungerfield and Other Poems, which won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize. Some of his poetry is still being put to music and played at annual festivals. He also adapted two of Euripides' tragedies for the modern stage.

The Jeffers Studies website offers biographical background on Jeffers, tips on teaching Jeffers, a chronology, book reviews, bibliography, and more. Finland's Kuusankoski Public Library also has a page of bio on Jeffers; the Academy of American Poets has a biographical sketch and some bibliography for Jeffers as well; and Modern American Poets provides information on Jeffers' life and career, a chronology, and criticism of poems.

Zora Neale Hurston, African-American novelist, 7 Jan. 1903 - 28 Jan. 1960

Born in Eatonville, FL, Hurston became part of the Harlem Renaissance, the black literati in New York City. Besides being a writer of novels (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Dust Tracks on a Road, Mules and Men, etc.) and short stories, she was also a folklorist who travelled to Latin American and the Caribbean to learn more about her roots, and she received degrees from Howard University and Barnard, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. Yet, she spent most of her life in Florida and died there in a welfare home in 1960. The writer Alice Walker resurrected her works and interest in her in the 1970s.

Hurston's official website offers biography, chronology, a bibliography, news, book group guide linkes, a section for teachers, and links to other sources. Voices from the Gap has a good overview of Hurston's life and career. Zora offers an introductory essay on Hurston and some stories, photos, essays. Carla Kaplan, editor of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, provides lots of biographical material about Hurston online. The PAL: Perspectives in American Literature website offers some study questions about Hurston's work, as well as a bibliography and brief biography.


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