Mark Van Doren

(June 13, 1894 – December 10, 1972 / Hope, Illinois,)

Mark Van Doren
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Nationally famous as a novelist, playwright, critic, editor, and poet (his Collected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940), at the College Van Doren is also remembered as the quintessential great teacher. In his nearly four decades at Columbia, Van Doren introduced generations to Western literature and became a trusted friend and advisor to students and fellow teachers.

Born in Hope, Illinois, Van Doren came to Columbia just as the College was reinventing its curriculum after the war. Van Doren was at the core of the original band of young scholars who taught Erskine's General Honors course in the early 1920s. Years later, as a professor, Van Doren headed a crucial planning ... more »

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  • Rookie William Claire (4/3/2007 8:45:00 PM)

    The astonishing variety of poems in MarkVan Doren's Collected & New Poems, and two later volumes, Morning Worship and Good Morning, the latter introduced by Richard Howard, is staggering in its brilliance and knowledge of the world. A line can be drawn from Dryden and Wordsworth to modern day breakthroughs written long after his Pulitzer Prize volume of 1939.Poetry to him was a form of daily bread, and he has nourished, and will continue to nourish, readers to the end time.

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Best Poem of Mark Van Doren

After Long Drought

After long drought, commotion in the sky;
After dead silence, thunder. Then it comes,
The rain. It slashes leaves, and doubly drums
On tin and shingle; beats and bends awry
The flower heads; puddles dust, and with a sigh
Like love sinks into grasses, where it hums
As bees did once, among chrysanthemums
And asters when the summer thought to die.

The whole world dreamed of this, and has it now.
Nor was the waking easy. The dull root
Is jealous of its death; the sleepy brow
Smiles in its slumber; and a heart can fear
The very flood it longed ...

Read the full of After Long Drought

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