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Elinor Morton Wylie was born on September 7, 1885 in Somerville, New Jersey, An accomplished poet and novelist she was also know for her ethereal beauty and her scandalous lifestyle. After an early romance failed she met and eloped with her first husband, Philip Simmons Hichborn and they married on December 13, 1906. A son was born nine months later but the marriage was unhappy. With the death of her father in November 1910 she abandoned her family and began living with a lawyer, Horace Wylie. With Wylie's encouragement Elinor anonymously published in 1912, Incidental Number, a small poetry volume assembled from works of the previous decade. In 1921, Wylie's first commercial book of poetry, Nets to Catch the Wind, was published. It was an immediate success. The Poetry Society awarded her its Julia Ellsworth Ford Prize. Elinor began spending time in literary circles in New York City amongst whom she found her next husband — William Rose Benét whom she married in 1923. Also in 1923 she published Black Armor, another poetry volume of which the New York Times said "There is not a misplaced word or cadence in it. There is not an extra syllable." By the time of Elinor’s third book of poetry, Trivial Breath in 1928, her marriage with Benét was also in trouble, and they had agreed to live apart. She moved to England and fell in love with the husband of a friend, Henry de Clifford Woodhouse, to whom she wrote a series of 19 sonnets which she published privately in 1928 as Angels and Earthly Creatures. Elinor Wylie died on December 16, 1928 of a stroke while preparing the 1929 Angels and Earthly Creatures for commercial publication. Below we publish much of her poetry. Delightful and sensuous, it speaks and tells us much about who Elinor really was.
Publisher: Copyright Group