MacArthur Fellows Program

Robert Penn Warren

Poet, Writer, and Literary Critic | Class of June 1981

Poet, Writer, and Literary Critic
Fairfield, Connecticut
76 at time of award
September 15, 1989
Published June 1, 1981

Robert Penn Warren was a poet, a novelist, a literary critic, and an educator.

In 1935, he co-founded the Southern Review with Cleanth Brooks, with whom he collaborated on two classic textbooks of criticism, Understanding Poetry (1938) and Understanding Fiction (1943).  Better known as a Southern novelist, Warren revealed through his works his regional agrarian sympathies and his sensitivity to the racial conflict in the South.  His numerous works include All the King’s Men (1946) and Band of Angels (1955), which were made into films; and Promises: Poems, 1954-1956 (1957), Who Speaks for the Negro? (1965), Now and Then: Poems, 1976-78 (1978), New and Selected Poems (1985), and The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren (1998, posthumously), among numerous others.

Warren was a professor of literature (1950-1973) and a professor emeritus (1973-1989) at Yale University.  He received numerous awards for his works, including the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1947) and for poetry (1958 and 1979).  He was also the first Poet Laureate of the United States (1986).

Warren received a B.A. (1925) from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. (1927) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.Litt. (1930) from the University of Oxford.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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