Robert Penn Warren, often called a great American writer and poet, was born on April 24, 1905, in Guthrie, Kentucky. His mother was a school teacher and his father a banker who loved poetry but has been described as aloof, a character in many of Warren's writing. In 1921 he entered Vanderbilt University to study electrical engineering, and was the youngest member to join a small group of Southern poets who called themselves The Fugitives. At one point, he attempted to commit suicide after falling behind on his studies. He graduated in 1925 and proceeded to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Master's Degree, then studied at Yale and then Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He became a professor of literature and began teaching at Louisiana State University in 1934, then later at the University of Minnesota from 1942 and Yale in 1973.

His first novel, Night Rider, was published in 1939, a story about the tobacco war during the time he was born. His later novel, All The King's Men (1946), received much critical acclaim and has since been made into both a play and a movie, as well as translated into twenty different languages.

In 1930 he married Emma Brescia, a woman suffering from neurasthenia and bedridden, which ended in divorce in 1950. In 1952 he married the novelist Eleanor Clark and they had two children, a boy and a girl. On September 15, 1989, he died of cancer in Stratton, Vermont.

Although Warren is more widely known for his novels, he wrote great amounts of poetry and received two Pulitzer Prizes for two seperate books of poetry, Promises and Now and Then: Poems 1976-1978. He is the only person to have received a Pulitzer in both poetry and fiction, and has received three Pulitzers in all. He was also the first poet laureate and has attained virtually every major award given to U.S. writers, including the National Medal for Literature in 1970, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980, and the Prize Fellowship of the John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1981.

Some of his works include:

Poetry (partial list):