John Hall Wheelock

(9 September 1886 - 22 March 1978 / Rockaway, Long Island New York)

Biography of John Hall Wheelock

John Hall Wheelock poet

John Hall Wheelock, poet, scholar, and editor, was born 9 September 1886 in Rockaway, Long Island, NY son of William Efner Wheelock and Emily Charlotte Hall. His grandfather on his mothers side, Reverend John Hall, D.D. was the pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York. His grandfather on his fathers side, William Almy Wheelock, was a highly successfuly businessman and civic leader.

John Hall Wheelock grew up in New York, spending his childhood summers on the shore at East Hampton, Long Island, where he developed an affection for the sea. He graduated Harvard in 1908, class poet. As a student he was editor of the Harvard Monthly; and published his first work, "Verses by Two Undergraduates", anonymously with his friend Van Wyck Brooks during their freshman year.

He spend two years in Germany, working on a post graduate degree at the University of Goettingen and the Univesity of Berlin. During this time he wrote a great deal of verse. Returning to America in 1910, he became associated with Charles Scribner and Sons, and by 1932 became a director of the corporation. In 1942 he became treasurer, and in 1947, upon the death of Maxwell Perkins, he became senior editor.

In 1936, his published volume of Collected Works was awarded the Golden Rose by the New England Poetry Society, as the most distinguished contribution to American poetry of that year. For his work "Poems Old and New" he received the Ridgely Torrence Memorial Award in 1956, and the Borestone Mountain Poetry Award in 1957. In 1962 he won the Bollingen Prize; in 1965 the Signet Society Medal, Harvard University, for distinguished achievement in the arts. In 1972 he was awarded the Gold Medal by the Poetry Society of America for notable achievement in poetry.

John Hall Wheelock was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Poetry Society of America (Vice president, 1944-1946), National Institute of Arts and Letters (vice-president), and the Academy of American Poets (chancellor, 1947-71; honorary fellow, 1974-1978). He was an honorary consultant in American letters to the Library of Congress.

During his career he worked with such distinguished authors as Thomas Wolfe and James Truslow Adams.

John Hall Wheelock's Works:

Verses by Two Undergraduates. 1905.
The human fantasy. Sherman, French. 1911.
The belovéd adventure. Sherman, French. 1912.
Love and Liberation. Sherman, French. 1913.
Dust and Light. Scribner. 1919.
The Black Panther. Scribner. 1922.
The Bright Doom, Scribner, 1927
Collected Poems, 1911-1936, Scribner, 1936
Poems Old and New, Scribner, 1956
The Gardner and Other Poems, Scribner, 1961
Dear Men and Women: New Poems, Scribner, 1966
By Daylight and in Dream: New and Collected Poems, 1904-1970, Scribner, 1970
In Love and Song: Poems, Scribner, 1971.

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Grasshopper, your fairy song
And my poem alike belong
To the dark and silent earth
From which all poetry has birth;
All we say and all we sing
Is but as the murmuring
Of that drowsy heart of hers
When from her deep dream she stirs:
If we sorrow, or rejoice,

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