Authors: Philip Booth

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

American poet

Author Works


Letter from a Distant Land, 1957

The Islanders, 1961

Weathers and Edges, 1966

Margins: A Sequence of New and Selected Poems, 1970

Available Light, 1976

Before Sleep, 1980

Relations: Selected Poems, 1950-1985, 1986

Selves: New Poems, 1990

Pairs: New Poems, 1994

Lifelines: Selected Poems, 1950-1999, 1999

Crossing, 2001 (juvenile)


Trying to Say It: Outlooks and Insights on How Poems Happen, 1996


Philip Booth, like many other contemporary poets, has spent much of his career in an academic atmosphere. He took a baccalaureate degree at Dartmouth College in 1947 and taught at Bowdoin College in Maine in 1949, then dropped out of teaching for four years to write as a novelist. After deciding that he was better as a writer of poetry than of fiction, he returned to it and earned his master’s degree at Syracuse University, where he served for the next twenty-five years in the creative writing program. He was also a staff member for poetry workshops at Tufts University and the University of New Hampshire.{$I[AN]9810000694}{$I[A]Booth, Philip}{$I[geo]UNITED STATES;Booth, Philip}{$I[tim]1925;Booth, Philip}

Philip Booth

(© Rollie McKenna)

As a poet, Booth has won a number of awards. He received the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine in 1955. Two years later, he received the Saturday Review poetry award for his poem “The Margin.” He also received the Lamont Prize of the Academy of American Poets in 1957. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1958-1959 and was Phi Beta Kappa poet at Columbia University in 1962. In 1983, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets. His 1986 collection Relations received the Maurice English Poetry Award. In addition to his volumes of poetry, Booth has had numerous publications in various literary magazines and journals, including Harper’s, The New Yorker, and Saturday Review, as well as in anthologies of contemporary poetry.

BibliographyBooth, Philip. Interview by Rachel Berghash. The American Poetry Review 18 (May/June, 1989): 37-39. The poet discusses his sense of place and roots in Castine, offering some biographical information. He also talks about his views on survival, his philosophy of poetry, and his collection Relations.Booth, Philip. Interview by Stephen Dunn. New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly 9 (Winter, 1986): 134-158. Dunn is one of the four former students to whom Booth dedicated Selves and from whom the poet says he is still learning. This interview offers good insight into the poems of Booth’s seventh volume, Relations.Phillips, Robert. “Utterly Unlike.” Hudson Review 52, no. 4 (Winter, 1999): 689-697. Phillips contrasts Booth’s style and thematic focus in Lifelines with Levine’s The Mercy and Mary Jo Salter’s A Kiss in Space in this celebration of poetic diversity.Rotella, Guy L. Three Contemporary Poets of New England: William Meredith, Philip Booth, and Peter Davison. Boston: Twayne, 1983. Rotella places Booth in a New England regional context. providing biographical information and analysis of the poetry.Taylor, John. Review of Lifelines, by Philip Booth. Poetry 177, no. 1 (January, 2001): 272-273. Taylor notes that Booth’s realism is often overcast with a dreaminess that invites introspection and meditation.Tillinghast, Richard. “Stars and Departures, Hummingbirds and Statues.” Poetry 166, no. 5 (August, 1995): 295-297. Tillinghast appreciates Booth’s Yankee sensibility, close observation, and the way in which he avoids forcing his material into themes.Tillinghast, Richard. “Stars and Departures, Hummingbirds and Statues.” Poetry 166, no. 5 (August, 1995): 295-297. Booth’s Pairs is matched up with Mark Strand’s Dark Harbor. Tillinghast appreciates Booth’s Yankee sensibility, his close and convincing observation, and the way in which he avoids forcing his material into thematic clusters or sequences. The poet’s sensibility is the theme. Tillinghast enjoys Booth’s humor as well.
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