Fletcher, John Gould

Fletcher, John Gould

Fletcher, John Gould, 1886-1950, American poet, b. Little Rock, Ark., educated (1903-7) at Harvard. After traveling throughout Europe, he became a leader of the imagists in England. His early collections of poetry are Irradiations: Sand and Spray (1915) and Goblins and Pagodas (1916). In later works Fletcher turned from free verse to more traditional forms. These include The Black Rock (1928), Selected Poems (1938, Pulitzer Prize), and The Burning Mountain (1946). Many of his poems reflect his youth in the Southwest.

See his autobiography, Life Is My Song (1937).

John Gould Fletcher (January 3 1886May 20 1950) was a Pulitzer Prize winning Imagist poet and author. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to a socially prominent family. After attending Phillips Academy, Andover Fletcher went on to Harvard University from 1903 to 1907, when he dropped out shortly after his father's death.

Fletcher lived in England for a large portion of his life. While in Europe he associated with Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, and other Imagist poets, enjoying the vibrant social scene.

His early works include Irradiations: Sand and Spray (1915), and Goblins and Pagodas (1916). In later poetic works Fletcher returned to more traditional forms. These include The Black Rock (1928), Selected Poems (1938), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1939, and The Burning Mountain (1946).

Fletcher later returned to his home in Arkansas and reconnected with his roots. The subject of his works turned increasingly towards Southern issues and Traditionalism.

In the late 1920s and 1930s he was active with a group of 11 other Southern writers and poets known as the Southern Agrarians. This group published the classic Agrarian manifesto I'll Take My Stand, a collection of essays rejecting Modernity and Industrialism. In 1937 he wrote his autobiography, Life is My Song, and in 1947 he published Arkansas, a beautifully written history of his home state.

On January 18, 1936 he married a noted author of children's books, Charlie May Simon. The two of them built "Johnswood", a residence on the bluffs of the Arkansas River outside Little Rock. They traveled frequently, however, to New York for the intellectual stimulation and to the American Southwest for the climate, after Fletcher began to suffer from arthritis.

Fletcher suffered from depression and on 20 May 1950 committed suicide by drowning in a pond near his home in Little Rock, Arkansas. Fletcher is buried at historic Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock, and a branch of the Central Arkansas Library System is named in his honor.

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