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John Ciardi


Biography of John Ciardi

John Ciardi poet

John Anthony Ciardi (June 24, 1916 – March 30, 1986) was an American poet, translator, and etymologist. While primarily known as a poet, he also translated Dante's Divine Comedy, wrote several volumes of children's poetry, pursued etymology, contributed to the Saturday Review as a columnist and long-time poetry editor, and directed the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. In 1959, Ciardi published a book on how to read, write, and teach poetry, How Does a Poem Mean?, which has proven to be among the most-used books of its kind. At the peak of his popularity in the early 1960s, Ciardi also had a network television program on CBS, Accent. Ciardi's impact on poetry is perhaps best measured through the younger poets whom he influenced as a teacher and as editor of The Saturday Review.

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Suburban

Yesterday Mrs. Friar phoned.'Mr. Ciardi,
how do you do?' she said. 'I am sorry to say
this isn't exactly a social call. The fact is
your dog has just deposited-forgive me-
a large repulsive object in my petunias.'

I thought to ask, 'Have you checked the rectal grooving
for a positive I.D.?' My dog, as it happened,
was in Vermont with my son, who had gone fishing-

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