Author: Edwin Arlington Robinson

One of the most prolific poets of the last century, Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935) was born in Head Tide, Maine. Robinson’s father wanted him to become a businessman or a scientist. In 1891, Robinson left Maine to study at Harvard University, where his desire to write was only strengthened. Several of his initial poems were published in the Harvard Advocate. For the most part, however, the literary community in Boston did not accept his work, and after many rejections, Robinson eventually paid a press to publish his first collection of poems, The Torrent and The Night Before, in 1896 (later republished as The Children of the Night). Robinson, requiring a more substantial and dependable salary, took a job in the New York subway system. Later, after President Theodore Roosevelt gave Robinson’s 1902 collection, Captain Craig and Other Poems, a positive review, he received a job offer in the New York Customs Office, courtesy of the president. Over the next several decades, Robinson had great success, beginning in 1916 when he completed The Man against the Sky. In the 1920s, he received the Pulitzer Prize three separate times, in 1922, 1925, and 1928. He died in 1935 in the midst of completing yet another one of his works. 

The Master

Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson’s 1909 tribute to Abraham Lincoln, “The Master,” takes up the theme of national memory. Robinson recalls the ridicule Lincoln once endured in light of Americans’ newfound appreciation for their 16th president.