Fun Facts Friday: Edwin Arlington Robinson

December 22, 2023

Edwin Arlington Robinson (22 December, 1869 – 6 April, 1935) was a poet, playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Nobel Prize nominee.

Fun Facts Friday: Edwin Arlington RobinsonBooks by Edwin Arlington Robinson*

Fun Facts about Edwin Arlington Robinson:

  1. Edwin Arlington Robinson was born in Head Tide, Maine to Edward and Mary. His parents wanted a girl and didn’t name him until he was six months old. Edwin was randomly selected when they were on vacation.
  2. The family moved to Gardner, Maine when the future poet was one year old, and this is where he spent his “star and unhappy” childhood.
  3. Mr. Robinson didn’t have an easy life, and his pessimistic poems reflect that. Dean, the oldest son of the family was addicted to laudanum which, as a doctor, he had access to. Herman, the middle brother married the woman the poet loved, but was too young for her. The wedding was a huge blow to his pride, and he penned the poem “Cortège” in protest. Herman’s businesses were in dire straits, he became an alcoholic and estrange from his family, he died a poor man in 1909.
  4. Mr. Robinson entered Harvard when he was 21 years old. His goal was to get published in one of Harvard’s literary journals, not graduate. The Harvard Advocate published one of his poems Ballade of a Ship.
  5. During his first year at the university, Edward Robinson, his father, passed away and he dropped out the next year. Even though he didn’t stay in Cambridge for long, some of his best experiences, and lifelong friends were made during those formidable years.
  6. Edwin Arlington Robinson returned to Gardiner and started writing seriously but couldn’t make it as a farmer. After his sister-in-law rejected his marriage proposal, twice, he left and moved to New York living as a poor poet and getting entrenched with the literary community.
    He never married, but had several romantic relationships with women over his lifetime.
  7. In 1896 he self-published his first book The Torrent and the Night Before. He planned to surprise his mother, but she passed away just days before the copies he sent her arrived. A few years later, his brother Dean died of a drug overdose.
  8. Mr. Robinson’s second book Children of the Night, had a wider circulation including President Teddy Roosevelt, recommended by his son Kermit whose teacher was friend with the poet. President Roosevelt invited Mr. Robinson to dine with him in the White House, but the poet declined due to lack of suitable clothes. Nevertheless, the President offered him a job in 1905 at the New York Customs Office. The job itself had little responsibilities because the President wanted him to advance American literature. Mr. Robinson stayed at the job until Roosevelt left office.
  9. Collected Poems, his 1921 collection, won the first ever Pulitzer Prize award for poetry.
  10. Edwin Arlington Robinson passed away from cancer in New York City. He is buried in Gardiner where his childhood home is not a National Historic Landmark.

Books by Edwin Arlington Robinson*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books


Edwin Arlington Robinson | Wikipedia

Edwin Arlington Robinson 1869–1935 | Poetry Foundation

Biography of Edwin Arlington Robinson | Gardiner Public Library

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Fun Facts Friday: Edwin Arlington Robinson
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Fun Facts Friday: Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson (22 December, 1869 – 6 April, 1935) was a poet, playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Nobel Prize nominee.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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