Anthony Hecht

American poet (1923–2004)

Anthony Evan Hecht (January 16, 1923 – October 20, 2004) was an American poet.

Anthony Evan Hecht
Anthony Hecht at the Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1947
Anthony Hecht at the Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1947
Born(1923-01-16)January 16, 1923
New York, NY
DiedOctober 20, 2004(2004-10-20) (aged 81)
OccupationPoet, critic, teacher
EducationBard College, Kenyon College
Period20th century
Literary movementFormalism
Years active1950-2004

Hecht was born in New York City. His parents were a Jewish middle-class businessman and homemaker. He decided to become a poet when he was 17.[1] He was a student at Bard College for three years before he was drafted into the U. S. Army. In 1945, when he was 22, his army group freed Flossenburg concentration camp. What he saw there had a large effect on his poetry.[2]

After the war, in 1947 and 1948, he studied at Kenyon College. One of his teachers was poet John Crowe Ransom. He wrote his first book, A Summoning of Stones, in Rome in 1951.[2] He was known as a "formalist" poet. He cared a lot about the traditional shapes and sounds of poetry.[3]

Hecht's book The Hard Hours won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1968.[4] From 1982 to 1984 he was the U. S. Consultant in Poetry (Poet Laureate). He taught at the University of Rochester from 1967-1985.5[5]

Hecht died of lymphoma in Washington, D. C. in 2004.[1]

  • A Summoning of Stones (1954)
  • The Hard Hours (1967)
  • Millions of Strange Shadows (1977)
  • The Venetian Vespers (1979)
  • The Transparent Man (1990)
  • Collected Earlier Poems (1990)
  • Flight Among the Tombs (1998)
  • The Darkness and the Light (2001)
  • Collected Later Poems (2003)
  • Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes (1973)
Other Works
  • Obbligati: Essays in Criticism (1986)
  • The Hidden Law: The Poetry of W. H. Auden (1993)
  • On the Laws of the Poetic Art (1995)
  • Melodies Unheard: Essays on the Mysteries of Poetry (2003)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shapiro, Harvey (2004-10-22). "Anthony Hecht, a Formalist Poet, Dies at 81". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-02-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cambridge, Gerry (2004). "Hecht, Anthony". Oxford Reference - The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  3. "Anthony Hecht". Poetry Foundation. 2023-02-19. Retrieved 2023-02-19.
  4. "The 1968 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry". The Pulitzer Prizes. 2023. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  5. "Consultants and Poets Laureate | Poet Laureate | Poetry & Literature | Programs | Library of Congress". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2023-02-19.