Jean Garrigue


Biography of Jean Garrigue

Jean Garrigue (December 8, 1914, Evansville, Indiana – December 27, 1972, Boston, Massachusetts), was an American poet who wrote as an expatriate while in Europe in 1953, 1957, and 1962. She eventually settled in Greenwich Village. The Ego and the Centaur (1947) was Garrigue’s first full-length publication. She was a professor at Queens College, Smith College and several other colleges and universities. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1960–61, and nominated for a National Book Award for Country Without Maps. The critic and poet Stanley Kunitz, called Garrigue "a wildly gifted poet…whose art took the road of excess that leads to the palace of wisdom." Garrigue was also romantically involved with Delmore Schwartz, Alfred Kazin, Stanley Kunitz, and Larry Rivers. She became a long time partner to writer Josephine Herbst.

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Catch What You Can

The thing to do is try for that sweet skin
One gets by staying deep inside a thing.
The image that I have is that of fruit—
The stone within the plum or some such pith
As keeps the slender sphere both firm and sound.
Stay with me, mountain flowers I saw
And battering moth against a wind-dark rock,
Stay with me till you build me all around
The honey and the clove I thought to taste

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