Elaine Magarrell (1928–2014)

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Elaine Magarrell (June 2, 1928 - July 3, 2014) is the author of two full-length books of poems, On Hogback Mountain (1985), and Blameless Lives (1991), and is one of three contributors to a chapbook of poems on aging, Inventory (2003, with Cicely Angleton and Reed Whittemore).

Magarrell was born in Clinton, IA of immigrant Jewish parents and came of age in that small town during World War II. Her father owned a ladies' ready-to-wear shop where the whole family helped out. She was educated at the University of Iowa and Drake University. Magarrell taught English and Creative Writing in Iowa’s public schools, wrote free-lance features for The Des Moines Register, and was a researcher for the Washington Bureau of The New York Times during the Watergate hearings and Ford and Carter administrations. Although she wrote poetry from the age of ten, she burned the early work and did not write again until she was in her forties and teaching English in a public junior high school. In 1981, Magarrell quit her job as library clerk at the Washington Bureau of the New York Times to write full time.

Submitted by Kim Roberts, March 2016

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