1869-1935. A writer who lived entirely for his poetry, he worked a number of jobs (to pay the bills) until President Theodore Roosevelt created a sinecure for him. His subject matter primarily consists of small-town characters sketched in clear outline. His style combines precision and economy with unexpected irony and wry humour.

Edwin Arlington Robinson's poetry as published in The Children of the Night (1897), The Man Against the Sky (1916) and The Three Taverns (1920):

The Children of the Night

The Man Against the Sky

The Three Taverns

Edwin Arlington Robinson was born on December 22, 1869 in Maine. However, it wasn't until months after his birth that he was actually given the name Edwin Arlington. After his birth the family moved to a near by town, Gardiner, which would become the inspiration for a series of poems he wrote during his career as a poet. Edwin started writing poetry and the age of eleven and in highschool he became the youngest member to join the town's poetry society. Though Robinson was willing to learn the basic elements and rules of poetry, he was a person who always took his on road in life. Now one could ever influence him. He was his own man.

Robinson often wrote out of the inspiration of his own tragedies. This started when he attended Harvard, during his college years, and money became scarce. Then in 1892, his father died and the family was forced to file for bankruptcy, it continued for the next seven years. Robinson ended up being forced to leave Harvard because of financial difficulties and his mother's failing health; she died in 1896 of "black diphtheria."(Around this time Robinson wrote: The Torrent and the Night Before; which was published as The Children of the Night.)

Robinson's writing was also known for its mastery of conventional poetry. In the characters of works like "Richard Cory," or “John Evereldown,” etc., he confronts the issue of failure and tragedy, but always in a sympathetic style. Robinson looks at both their "failure and degradations" along with the characters' ability to maintain a level of "peculiar courage.” Robinson's hometown appears in these poems renamed as Tilbury Town. He saw his town as having a "Puritan ethic," that was repressed, along with the natural materialistic aspects of modern society. The town characteristics, as he said, "conspired to beat down its citizens." He constantly wrote about the theme of public failure but always counterbalanced it with affirming a belief in a higher power.

Edwin Arlington Robinson, the child who started his life without a name, gave his heart to experience the world through the eyes of a poet. This included living in the poverty and hardships of which he wrote about. He died being one of the most influential poets of the 20th, in 1935 while finishing his last work, "King Jasper."

A quote from Radcliffe Squires: "Robinson's poems, the best of them and those that will last, emerge from an awareness that life is continuously menaced: that innocence and experience alike are threatened by the bland modular construction of society and the soulless press of industrialism"


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