Elinor Wylie (1885-1928)

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Elinor Wylie (September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928) is the author of five books of poems, including Nets to the Catch the Wind (1921) and Angels and Earthly Creatures (1928), and four novels, including Jennifer Lorn (1923) and The Orphan Angel (1926). Her Collected Poems (1932) and Collected Prose (1933) were published posthumously.

Wylie was born into a socially prominent family and she scandalized the society world with her multiple marriages and affairs. Her first husband, Philip Simmons Hichborn, was mentally unstable and abusive. Wylie had one son with him, but she abandoned both husband and son to live with another married man, Horace Wiley, a DC lawyer. When her affair was widely reported in newspapers, she was ostracized by her family, and the couple moved to England and lived under an assumed name. Wylie’s first husband committed suicide, and Horace attained a divorce, so they returned to the US and married. Wylie’s third husband was William Rose Benét, but this marriage, too, was short-lived.

Wylie became part of the literary community centered around Greenwich Village in New York. She worked as poetry editor for Vanity Fair (1923-1925), and a contributing editor of The New Republic (1926-1928).

More on this poet: Beltway Poetry Quarterly: http://www.beltwaypoetry.com/poetry/poets/names/wylie-elinor/

written by Kim Roberts, January 2015

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