Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269
Jean Garrigue (December 8, 1912, Evansville, Indiana – December 27, 1972, Boston, Massachusetts) was an honored, widely read, and imitated poet during her lifetime. She was a contemporary of Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, and Randall Jarrell.
Even apart from the poems, Garrigue's life was fascinating both in itself, and as an example of a fearless and brilliant female artistic consciousness at large in the world. She was born Gertrude Louise Garrigus on December 8, 1912, in Evansville, Indiana. Her life is the story of a dreamy and intelligent young girl from the Midwest drawn irresistibly to the world of art and the creative life. She lived in Indianapolis for much of her early life then left to attend the University of Chicago, where she roomed with Marguerite Young, followed by a period of post-graduate study at the University of Iowa. When she first arrived to live in New York City she changed her name from Gertrude Louise Garrigus to Jean Garrigue. She eventually settled in New England where she wrote The Ego and the Centaur (1947), her first full-length publication. She travelled in Europe in 1953-54, 1957–58, and 1962–63 and this influenced much of her later writing. It is the story of a woman who deliberately evaded domestic comfort and happiness—never married or settled into a lasting relationship, never had children—in favor of continuous contact with raw and extreme emotional experience. Her story intertwines with those of several important literary figures. She was a lover of writers: R.P. Blackmur, Alfred Kazin, Delmore Schwartz, and Stanley Kunitz among others. The most important relationship in her life was her lengthy, but troubled laison with the novelist Josephine Herbst who died in 1969.
Garrigue edited a weekly newspaper in the late thirties, was a researcher at Colliers, edited a U.S.O. publication during World War II, and was an assistant editor of an aeronautical magazine The Flying Cadet. She was an instructor of English literature at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, IA (1942–43), Bard College, Annandale, NY (1951–52), Queens College, Flushing, NY (1952–53), The New School for Social Research, New York, NY (1955–56), the University of Connecticut, Storrs (1960–61), and Smith College (1965-66). She also taught at the University of Washington, the University of California, Riverside, and Rhode Island College. She was Poet-in-residence at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of California, Riverside, in 1971. She was a visiting poet at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1970. In 1971, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.
BACK TO HOME PAGE