Biography of Malcolm Cowley
Malcolm Cowley (August 24, 1898 – March 27, 1989) was an American novelist, poet, literary critic, and journalist.
Born August 28, 1898 in Western Pennsylvania, Cowley grew up in Pittsburgh, where his father William was a homeopathic doctor. He graduated from Peabody High School where his friend Kenneth Burke was also a student. in 1920 he earned a B.A. from Harvard University.
He interrupted his undergraduate studies to join the American Field Service in France during World War I. From the Western Front he reported on the war for The Pittsburgh Gazette (today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
Marriage and family
Upon returning to the USA, Cowley married artist Peggy Baird; they were divorced in 1931. His second wife was Muriel Maurer. Together they had one son, Robert William Cowley, who is an editor and military historian.
Malcolm Cowley Poems
Farmhouses curl like horns of plenty, hide scrawny bare shanks against a barn, or crouch empty in the shadow of a mountain. Here there is no house at all—
August and on the vine eight melons sleeping, drinking the sunlight, sleeping, while below their roots obscurely work in the dark loam;
The Long Voyage
NOT that the pines were darker there, nor mid-May dogwood brighter there, nor swifts more swift in summer air; it was my own country,
Regiments at a time pass through our village And, filthy with the caked mud of the front They lie along the roadside, or else hunt Their billets in damp cellars, or in stables
We Had Great Argument
After a tardy sun had set We four untried lieutenants chose The back room of the town buvette And there, until the next sun rose,
Stone Horse Shoals
'TO wade the sea-mist, then to wade the sea JL at dawn, let drift your garments one by one, follow the clean stroke of a sea-gull's wing breast-high against the sun;
Ballad Of French Service
No more to stroll for half a day Along the careless Avenue, No more to doze the night away, Reading of deeds that others do.
By day The town basks in the sun like some Aztec ruin. There is quiet in the trenches nearby; quiet and strained watching. The crumbling walls of the village are without habitant.
We Had Great Argument
After a tardy sun had set
We four untried lieutenants chose
The back room of the town buvette
And there, until the next sun rose,
We each discussed, in meaty prose
The meaning of the firmament
And all such things that no one knows.
That night we had great argument.