Marianne Moore: Biography, Poems & Poetry Analysis

Instructor: Natarielle Powell
Marianne Moore was a poet whose life had both ups -- like winning the Pulitzer Prize -- and downs -- like never really knowing her father. Read on to learn more about Ms. Moore.

Early Life of Marianne Moore

Have you ever heard the term 'tortured artist?' The phrase exists for a reason, and many of us imagine that artists, writers and poets have suffered through many hardships for their art. The poet Marianne Moore endured her first hardship before she was even born, though she went on to live a live full of accomplishments and travel.

Marianne Craig Moore was born on November 15, 1887 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father, John Milton Moore, had a nervous breakdown before she was born and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital. Moore was raised with her brother by her mother, Mary Warner, and her grandfather, Reverend John R. Warner. Moore's mother was a teacher, and her grandfather was the pastor of a Presbyterian church.

Marianne Moore

Education and Teaching

Marianne Moore studied biology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and graduated in 1909. She contributed to the college literary magazine, Tip. After graduation, she decided to follow in her mother's footsteps. For four years, Moore taught typing and bookkeeping at the United States Industrial Indian School in Pennsylvania.

Traveling Abroad and Back

How would you like to spend your summer traveling? Where would you go: Dubai, Australia, or Jamaica perhaps? Marianne Moore spent the summer of 1911 in England and France.

A few years later, she moved to New York with her mother. They were very close. Moore dedicated one of her books of poetry to her mother and kept a notebook of her mother's sayings even after she passed in 1947.

Marianne Moore


In 1919, Moore decided to devote the majority of her time to her writing. She worked as a private tutor and an assistant at a library, but for the most part, she wrote poetry and critical essays.

Moore's style was very unique because of her eccentric rhythms and ironic wit. She is known for saying that 'poets should present for inspection' 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them.'

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