Discipline: Literature – poetry

Harriet Zinnes

Discipline: Literature – poetry
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell fellowships: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 2004

Harriet Zinnes (1919-2019) was Professor Emerita of English of Queens College of the City University of New York. She authored 11 books of poetry, including Drawing On The Wall (2002), Whither Nonstopping (2005), Light Light Or The Curvature Of The Earth (2009), Weather Is Whither (2012), and Harriet Zinnes: New And Selected Poems (2014), all from Marsh Hawk Press. She also wrote two short story collections, edited a book of Ezra Pound’s art criticisms, translated a collection of poems of Jacques Prévert, and wrote countless literary articles for journals such as The Nation, Chelsea, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Hollins Critic, Philadelphia Inquirer, and art reviews for NY Arts and other art magazines.

Associated with poets such as Karl Shapiro, Delmore Schwartz, Alan Ginsberg and her close friend and mentor the writer Anaϊs Nin, as well as with the Beat and Language Poets, Zinnes’ poetic and critical output dealt with a complex transition between the aesthetic and social tensions associated with high modernism and postmodern literature and art. Thomas Fink, poet and critic at Marsh Hawk Press, writes, “Zinnes’ work happily blends the influence of French Symbolism, French surrealism, Steinian reiterations, stately cadences and heightened speech of high modernists like Eliot, Yeats, and Stevens, and a dash of Ashbery’s disjunctive cliché-tweaking.”

Portrait by Stella Snead