William Rose Benet

(1886-1950 / United States)

Biography of William Rose Benet

William Rose Benét (February 2, 1886 – May 4, 1950) was an American poet, writer, and editor. He was the older brother of Stephen Vincent Benét.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Col. James Walker Benét and his wife née Frances Neill Rose, and grandson of Brigadier General Stephen Vincent Benét. He was educated The Albany Academy in Albany, NY and at Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, graduating with a PhB in 1907. He began the Saturday Review of Literature in 1924 and continued to edit and write for it until his death.

Benét married four times: First, on 3 September 1912, he married Teresa France Thomson, with whom he had three children (James Walker Benét, Frances Rosemary Benét, and Kathleen Anne Benét). Teresa died in 1919. Benét's second wife whom he married on 5 October 1923, was poet Elinor Wylie. She died in 1928. Benét's third wife, whom he married on 15 March 1932, was Lora Baxter. They divorced in 1937. Benét's fourth wife, and widow, was children's writer Marjorie Flack.

In 1942, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book of autobiographical verse, The Dust Which Is God (1941).

He is also the author of The Reader's Encyclopedia, the standard American guide to world literature.

His son, James Walker Benét (b. 1914) is the author of two suspense novels and a guidebook to the San Francisco Bay Area.

PoemHunter.com Updates

How To Catch Unicorns

Its cloven hoofprint on the sand
Will lead you—where?
Into a phantasmagoric land—

There all the bright streams run up-hill.
The birds on every tree are still.
But from stocks and stones, clear voices come
That should be dumb.

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