Tag Archives: Coastal Life

Plath, Sylvia

PLATH, SYLVIA (1932-1963). Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, and her family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts, a seaside suburb, in 1936, where she lived until they moved inland to Wellesley in 1942. Her childhood by the Atlantic was significant in Continue reading & text links

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Phelps, Elizabeth

PHELPS ELIZABETH [STUART] (1844-1911). Growing up in Andover, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Phelps was a lifelong resident of New England and had a summer home in Gloucester. She was a staunch feminist who participated in causes that ranged from temperance to conditions Continue reading & text links

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Percival, James Gates

PERCIVAL, JAMES GATES (1795-1856). Though he often mentioned the ocean in his poetry, James Gates Percival made little use of direct observation. As state geologist for Connecticut, he mapped the landforms along the Atlantic and Long Island Sound. But in Continue reading & text links

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Stowe, Harriet Beecher

by Margherita M. Desy (2000) STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER (1811-1896). Harriet Beecher Stowe is internationally famous for her antislavery best-seller Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). In the summer of 1852, still living in Brunswick, Maine, where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe began Continue reading & text links

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Richard, Mark

RICHARD, MARK (1955- ). Author of the sea novel Fishboy (1993), Mark Richard (pronounced ree-SHARD) has been, at different times in his life, disc jockey, newspaperman, photographer, and private investigator. As a young man, Richard took time off from his Continue reading & text links

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Olson, Toby

OLSON, [MERLE THEODORE] TOBY (1937- ). Poet and novelist Toby Olson was born in Berwyn, Illinois, but spent much of his childhood moving around the United States. This constant movement instilled a theme of travel into his work, particularly his Continue reading & text links

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Oliver, Mary

OLIVER, MARY (1935-2019). A popular and highly acclaimed American poet, recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Mary Oliver composed numerous lyric poems set on coastal Cape Cod. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Oliver began writing poems Continue reading & text links

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Ogilvie, Elisabeth

OGILVIE, ELISABETH [MAY] (1917-2006). Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and soon thereafter uprooted to Maine, Elisabeth Ogilvie gained critical and popular attention for her first novel, High Tide at Noon (1944). The novel and its sequels, Storm Tide (1945) and The Continue reading & text links

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Moore, Ruth

MOORE, RUTH (1903-1989). Ruth Moore was born on Gott’s Island, Maine, where she lived for thirteen years before moving to the mainland to continue her education. She graduated from New York State College for Teachers in 1925 but did not Continue reading & text links

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Martin, William

MARTIN, WILLIAM (1950- ). History and the sea are the subjects of the fiction of William Martin, contemporary novelist and screenwriter. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and earning a B.A. from Harvard University (1972) and an M.F.A. from the University of Continue reading & text links

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Lowell, Robert, Jr.

LOWELL, ROBERT, JR [TRAILL SPENCE]. (1917-1977). Robert Lowell, the son of a naval officer, recalled in the poem, “Commander Lowell: 1887-1950” (Life Studies, 1959) how his father, in his postnaval life, would boom “Anchors Aweigh” in the bathtub and would Continue reading & text links

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Lincoln, Joseph Crosby

LINCOLN, JOSEPH C[ROSBY]. (1870-1944). Joseph C. Lincoln, the descendant of a long line of a seafarers, was a prolific author of best-selling verses, stories, and novels that portrayed life along the shore of Cape Cod with nostalgia and humor. The Continue reading & text links

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Le Guin, Ursula K.

LE GUIN, URSULA K[ROEBER]. (1929-2018). Born in Berkeley, California, Ursula K. Le Guin earned her B.A. at Radcliffe College in 1951 and her M.A. in French and Renaissance literature at Columbia University in 1952. Author of over fifty books of Continue reading & text links

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Larcom, Lucy

LARCOM, LUCY (1824-1893). Lucy Larcom was a prolific and highly regarded writer of descriptive and religious verse, short fiction, and inspirational prose in the second half of the nineteenth century. Born on the Massachusetts North Shore in Beverly, she lived Continue reading & text links

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King, Stephen

KING, STEPHEN [EDWIN] (1947- ). Although Stephen King sets much of his best-selling fiction in Maine, the New England coastal state of his birth and residence, he rarely writes about the sea. King has written dozens of horror, fantasy, and Continue reading & text links

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Judson, Edward Zane Carroll (“Ned Buntline”)

[JUDSON, EDWARD ZANE CARROLL], “NED BUNTLINE” (1823-1886). Edward Zane Carroll Judson, better known by his pseudonym Ned Buntline, was born on the Atlantic coast in Stamford, New York. The family moved to Bethany, Pennsylvania, and then to Philadelphia about the Continue reading & text links

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Kenney, Susan

KENNEY, SUSAN [McILVAINE] (1941- ). Born in Summit, New Jersey, Susan Kenney teaches at Colby College and has written two works with nautical themes: Sailing (1989) and One Fell Sloop (1990). Both are based on her experiences steering boats and Continue reading & text links

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Howe, Tina

HOWE, TINA (1937- ). Obie-award-winning playwright Tina Howe often employs sea imagery as metaphoric devices in her plays. Born in Boston and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, Howe began to have her works professionally produced in the early 1970s; her Continue reading & text links

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Herne, James A.

HERNE, JAMES A[HERN]. (1839-1901). James A. Herne was an actor, manager, and playwright whose early reputation as a successful melodramatist was established on the basis of his collaborations with playwright/producer/director David Belasco. Later in his career, however, he made a Continue reading & text links

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Hawthorne, Nathaniel

HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL (1804-1864). Born in Salem, Massachusetts, when the town was still one of the most active seaports in America, Nathaniel Hawthorne spent most of his youth within sight of the town’s busy wharves. His grandfather, Daniel, had been a Continue reading & text links

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Eliot, T. S.

ELIOT, T[HOMAS]. S[TEARNS]. (1888-1965). T. S. Eliot, perhaps the greatest poet of the twentieth century, was born on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri. Educated at Harvard, the Sorbonne, and Oxford, he became a British subject Continue reading & text links

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Davis, Rebecca Harding

DAVIS, REBECCA HARDING (1830-1910). Although best known for her gritty depiction of factory life in her story “Life in the Iron-Mills” (1861), Rebecca Harding Davis frequently used vivid sea imagery in her writings. Intimately familiar with marshes, sand dunes, shipwreck Continue reading & text links

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Crane, Stephen

CRANE, STEPHEN (1871-1900). Stephen Crane’s first extended trip at sea ended in a shipwreck less than thirty-five hours after he left the Florida coast, forcing Crane and three other crew members to struggle toward land for almost thirty hours, crammed Continue reading & text links

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Cooper, James Fenimore

COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE (1789-1851). With The Pilot (1824) James Fenimore Cooper invented the sea novel, for the first time employing the dominant literary form of the nineteenth century as the vehicle for a fiction in which the sea and the ship Continue reading & text links

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Coomer, Joe

COOMER, JOE (1958- ). A transplanted Texan, Joe Coomer married into a boating family and has spent a great deal of time off the Maine coast becoming adept at sailing. In 1992 Coomer purchased a wooden motor boat and recounted Continue reading & text links

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Clampitt, Amy

AMY CLAMPITT (1920–1994). Born and raised on a small farm in Iowa, this poet, who was best known for her highly cultured work, wrote a few extraordinary sea poems. Here are lines from the first:                Continue reading & text links

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Chopin, Kate

by Elizabeth Schultz (2000) CHOPIN, KATE [O’FLAHERTY] (1850-1904). Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Kate Chopin had no experience of the sea until her three-month European honeymoon in 1870. On her return to the United States, she moved with her husband Continue reading & text links

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Cheever, John

CHEEVER, JOHN (1912-1982). John Cheever, a writer of predominantly short fiction, uses seaside cottages and beaches as backgrounds for many of his stories. Sometimes Cheever’s depiction of the sea is more significant, however, with references to the sea possessing curative, Continue reading & text links

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Bishop, Elizabeth

BISHOP, ELIZABETH (1911-1979). Elizabeth Bishop, American poet for whom the coastlines of North and South America served as powerful sources of inspiration, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father died when she was eight months old, and her mother, after Continue reading & text links

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Beston, Henry

BESTON [SHEAHAN], HENRY (1888-1968). Born Henry Boston Sheahan in Quincy, Massachusetts, Henry Beston is the author of about a dozen books, including The Outermost House. A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod (1928). In 1925 Beston built a Continue reading & text links

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Averill, Charles

by Peter H. McCracken (2000) AVERILL, CHARLES (1825?-1868). Charles Averill wrote around a dozen adventure and romance novels between 1847 and 1850, about half of which take place wholly or mostly at sea. The Pirates of Cape Ann (1848) is representative. Here, Continue reading & text links

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Aldrich, Thomas Bailey

by Frank Rotsaert (2000) ALDRICH, THOMAS BAILEY (1836-1907). Thomas Bailey Aldrich, known chiefly as the author of The Story of a Bad Boy (1869), edited Every Saturday (1866-1874) and The Atlantic Monthly (1881-1890) and also wrote poems, short stories, and five novels. Born in Portsmouth, New Continue reading & text links

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