Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

American poet, born in Head Tide, Maine, and raised in the nearby town of Gardiner, the "Tilbury" of his poems. In 1897 he came to live in New York where he led a difficult life. Theodore Roosevelt who had liked The Children of Night secured for Robinson the post of clerk in the New York Custom House in 1905. In 1916 his collection The Man against the Sky finally established him as a poet of standing. His most productive years were the 1920s and the 1930s. His Collected Poems (1921) and The Man Who Died Twice (1924) were both awarded Pulitzer Prizes. He also wrote three Arthurian romances, Merlin (1917), Launcelot (1927) and Tristram (1927). His last book, King Jasper, with an introduction by Robert Frost, was published posthumously. In his poetry, the small-town tragedies he describes evoke Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology.
Miniver loved the days of old,
      When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
      Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
      And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
      And Priam's neighbors.

(from "Miniver Cheevy" a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson)
from Dr Phil Atteberry's
Literature site

I well recall... a most exciting party, of all the American poets that could be collected at a moment's notice, to meet this 'Oxford lecturer', this lecturer who had never lectured to an undergraduate in his life except when he was drunk, a party at which I clung desperately to Edwin Arlington Robinson, whose personality had always attracted me as much as his singular genius. He took me later to his room up-town, and I remember what a gleam of real Apollonian radiance illuminated that simple retreat, when, after his fashion, he spoke with a proud and noble reticence of his poetic purposes. I pleased him by my obviously honest pleasure in those poems about odd, quaint, derelict men meeting in the basement of the Brevoort Hotel; and I delighted him by my enjoyment of the phrase: 'Come out, you laelaps and inhale the night; and so he went away with Clavering!'. (Autobiography)

Very clearly in my memory is fixed the picture of this stately man, with his "mortis'd and tenon'd" reserve. Upon my soul, I never saw a poet so gifted who appeared less like a poet.... Mr Robinson presented a front to the world suggestive of an uncommunicative gentleman of private means, who liked nothing so much as to sit down before a bright fire and read the Life and Letters of Walter H. Page... (Llewelyn Powys, The Verdict of Bridlegoose)