Born in Vancouver, Washington, the daughter of a lumber-merchant, Mary Barnard was one of the first to articulate the northwestern landscape in American poetry, notably in her first collection Cool Country (1940) and A Few Poems (1952). Even in her best-known work Sappho: A New Translation (1958), often regarded as the best in modern idiom, Barnard's experiences of Washington's spare sawmill settlements, pointed firs, and desolate beaches informed the remarkable verbal austerity and cutting clarity with which she managed Sappho's fragments.

Barnard took her humanities degree at Reed College, Portland, Oregon, where she discovered modernist poetry and Ezra Pound, whose work with troubadour lyrics and …

600 words

Citation: Barnsley, Sarah. "Mary Barnard". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 February 2008 [, accessed 06 June 2023.]

12005 Mary Barnard 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.