Floyd Dell (1887-1969)
Floyd Dell (1887-1969) wrote literary criticism, poetry, plays, novels, short stories, and essays. After dropping out of high school, he worked as a reporter for local newspapers and with the socialist magazine Tri-City Worker in Davenport, Iowa. This is where he began publishing poetry in national publications as well. In 1908, he became editor of the Friday Literary Review in Chicago, getting involved in the Chicago Renaissance. He then moved to New York and edited the radical magazine The Masses. Dell helped lead the pre-war bohemian community in Greenwich Village.A member of the Socialist Party, Dell was charged with violations of the Espionage Act in 1917 and again in 1919.
Dell is the author of the plays King Arthur's Socks (1915) and Little Accident (1928), four novels, including the best-seller Moon-Calf (1920), and the memoir Homecoming (1933). He was a founding member of the Provincetown Players.
Dell moved to DC in 1933, and worked for the Works Progress Administration and U.S. Information Service. He died in Bethesda, MD, just outside of Washington, DC. He enjoyed exploring themes of love, sex, marriage, psychoanalysis, and the education of children in his work. One of his poems, “Song,” is a good example of his use of rhythm in poetry. He and his wife, Marie, a DC librarian, raised two sons.
Written by Word Works intern Monica Root October 2013; edited by Kim Roberts, January 2016.