Jack W. C. Hagstrom (AC 1955) Correspondence with or about Thom Gunn, Donald Hall, Marianne Moore, Dave Smith and Richard Wilbur
Jack W.C. Hagstrom (b. December 2, 1933), physician, literary collector and bibliographer, is a 1955 graduate of Amherst College. He earned an M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1959, where he went on to become Instructor in Pathology. He has retained close ties with Amherst College, particularly with the Robert Frost Library in connection with his avocational interest in collecting modern British and American poetry.
Thom Gunn was born in Gravesend, Kent, England, in 1929. He enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1950. In 1954, he relocated to San Francisco, where he lived the rest of his life. Gunn published more than thirty books of poetry in the United States and Britain. His honors include a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. Thom Gunn died on April 25, 2004, in San Francisco.
Donald Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928 and earned a B.A. from Harvard in 1951 and a B. Litt. from Oxford in 1953. He has published fifteen books of poetry as well as books on baseball and other topics, children's books, short stories and plays. He served as poetry editor of The Paris Review from 1953 to 1962. Hall has received two Guggenheim fellowships, the Poetry Society of America's Robert Frost Silver medal, a Lifetime Achievement award from the New Hampshire Writers and Publisher Project, and the Ruth Lilly Prize for poetry. Hall also served as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire from 1984 to 1989.
Marianne Moore (1887-1972) was an American poet, critic, and translator. She graduated in 1909 from Bryn Mawr College. Her Collected Poems (1951) earned the poet the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, and the Bollingen Prize.
Dave Smith was born on December 19, 1942 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He earned a B.A. at the University of Virginia (1965), an M.A. at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (1969), and a Ph.D in English at Ohio University (1976). He has taught English at many American colleges and universities, and since 1998 he has been the Boyd Professor of English at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He also has served as poetry editor for numerous magazines. Smith has published over 18 books of poetry as well as short stories, criticism and a novel.
Richard Wilbur, poet, translator and critic, was born in New York City in 1921. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942 and has taught English at Harvard and Wesleyan Universities and Wellesley and Smith Colleges. He has been awarded a number of honors for his poetry, including the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the Wallace Stevens Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the Frost Medal, the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bollingen Prize, the T. S. Eliot Award, a Ford Foundation Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award, the Oscar Blumenthal Prize for Poetry, the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award, the National Arts Club medal of honor for literature, two PEN translation awards, the Prix de Rome Fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Award. He was elected a chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques and is a Chancellor Emeritus of The Academy of American Poets. In addition to poetry, he has also published numerous translations of plays by Molière and Racine, contributed the lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's musical Candide, written several books for children, and produced two collections of critical writing. In 1987-1988 Richard Wilbur served as Poet Laureate of the United States.