Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943)

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Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943) wrote three collections of poetry, several novels, short stories, screenplays, and radio broadcasts, and a libretto for an opera. He worked with the State Department in Washington, DC in 1918. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for his long poem “John Brown’s Body,” which depicted important events in the Civil War using both real and fictional perspectives. Benet also received the O. Henry Story Prize, the Roosevelt Medal, and a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for “Western Star,” the first part of an epic poem about American history. Benet grew up in a family to which the military and literature were both important aspects of life, so it is no surprise that he spent a year in civilian military service (in the same department as James Thurber), or that his poetry touches on issues of war. His siblings also became writers. info from

written by Word Works intern Monica Root, September 2013

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