George Garrett

Poet Information

George Palmer Garrett

About the Poet

George Palmer Garrett photo

A writer proficient in a variety of genres, mentor and teacher George Garrett (1929-2008) was born in Orlando, Florida. He graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served in the army as a field artillery sergeant in Trieste, Italy. After his service, he earned an MA and a PhD, also from Princeton. The author of more than 40 books, he wrote nonfiction, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and screenplays. His collections of poetry include The Reverend Ghost (1957), Abraham’s Knife and Other Poems (1961), For a Bitter Season: New and Selected Poems (1967), Collected Poems of George Garrett (1984), and Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments: New and Old Poems, 1957–1997 (1998). Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments: New and Old Poems, 1957–1997 contains work from his previous six collections.

One of Garrett’s best-known works is his trilogy of historical novels: Death of the Fox: A Novel of Elizabeth and Ralegh (1971), The Succession: A Novel of Elizabeth and James (1983), and Entered from the Sun: The Murder of Marlowe (1990). A selection of other titles shows his versatility as a writer: Evening Performance: New and Selected Stories (1985), Sorrows of Fat City: A Selection of Literary Essays and Reviews (1992), My Silk Purse and Yours: The Publishing Scene and American Literary Art (1992), Southern Excursions: Views on Southern Letters in My Time (2003), and Double Vision: A Novel (2007). He also wrote the screenplay Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster.

Garrett taught at Bennington College, Hollins College, and the University of Michigan, and for many years at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he developed the creative writing program and was Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing. He was a founding member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ board of directors, and chancellor and founding member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

His awards included the Ingersoll Foundation’s T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, grants from the Ford and Guggenheim foundations, the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, and the Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Garrett died at home in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the age of 78 of cancer.

From the Poetry Foundation



Virginia City or County Affiliation

Charlottesville, Virginia





Year of Birth


Published Works or Performances

Poetry Collections

  • The Reverend Ghost. Charles Scribner's Sons,1957.
  • The Sleeping Gypsy and Other Poems. University of Texas Press,1958.
  • Abraham's Knife and Other Poems. The University of North Carolina Press,1961.
  • For a Bitter Season: New and Selected Poems. University of Missouri Press,1967.
  • Welcome to the Medicine Show: Postcards, Flashcards, Snapshots. Palaemon Press, 1978.
  • Luck's Shining Child: A Miscellany of Poems and Verses. Palaemon Press,1981.
  • The Collected Poems of George Garrett. University of Arkansas Press, 1984
  • Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments: New and Old Poems, 1957–1997. Louisiana State University Press,1998.

Selected Individual Poems or Performances

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George Garrett