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 …
Citation: Barnsley, Sarah. "Mary Barnard". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 February 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12005, accessed 06 June 2023.]