Robert Penn Warren Dies

Writer, critic, and teacher Robert Penn Warren died on September 15, 1989.

During his long and distinguished literary career, Warren was twice associated with the Library of Congress. In 1944-45, he served the Library as consultant in poetry and in 1986 Warren was named the first poet laureate of the United States.

Born in Guthrie, Kentucky, in 1905, Warren attended Vanderbilt University after an accidental eye injury caused him to forgo his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He roomed with Allen Tate at Vanderbilt and befriended Donald Davidson, as well as one of his teachers, John Crowe Ransom, forming a group of Southern poets called the Fugitives. From 1922-25, they published a bi-monthly magazine called The Fugitive. Several members of the group went on to urge preservation of Southern agrarian values in the 1930 manifesto I'll Take My Stand.

Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 – September 15, 1989) was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1957 and 1979. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry.

Warren was born in Guthrie, Kentucky to Robert Warren and Anna Penn He graduated from Clarksville High School in Tennessee, Vanderbilt University in 1925 and the University of California, Berkeley in 1926. Warren later attended Yale University and obtained his B. Litt. as a Rhodes Scholar from New College, Oxford, in England in 1930. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in Italy during the rule of Benito Mussolini. That same year he began his teaching career at Southwestern College (now Rhodes College) in Memphis, Tennessee.