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Robert Penn Warren

Pultizer Prize winner, 1985 poet laureate

Robert Penn Warren was born in Guthrie, Todd County, Kentucky, on April 24, 1905. He entered Vanderbilt University in 1921, where he became the youngest member of the group of Southern poets called the Fugitives, which included John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, and Merrill Moore. Warren's first poems were published in *The Fugitive*, a magazine which the group published from 1922 to 1925. The Fugitives were advocates of the rural Southern agrarian tradition and based their poetry and critical perspective on classical aesthetic ideals. Though regarded as one of the best poets of his generation, Warren was better known as a novelist and received tremendous recognition for *All the King's Men*, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1947. Warren's poetry became less formal and more expansive, garnering even higher critical acclaim: his *Promises: Poems, 1954-1956* won the Sidney Hillman Award, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1979 he earned a third Pulitzer Prize, this time for *Now and Then: Poems, 1976-1978*. Warren served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1972 until 1988, and was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 1981. On February 26, 1986, Warren was named the first U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. He died September 15, 1989.