Enslin, Theodore (1925 - )

Genre: Poetry

Ted Enslin was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, to parents who were both classical scholars. Enslin studied musical composition privately in Massachusetts at an early age with Francis Judd Cooke and with the great Nadia Boulanger, who recognised his writing talent. He also attended the New England Conservatory of Music. Enslin moved to Temple, Maine in 1960, and with his second wife, Alison Jane Jose (married 1969), to the coastal Washington County village of Milbridge in the 1970s. Besides his long and prolific career as a writer, Enslin has also supported himself by making homemade walking sticks.

While very well-respected by critics and by other poets, Enslin's career has been one of relative obscurity, partly because he is not a self-promoter and he has no academic affiliation. Enslin doesn't see himself as a regional writer, although the Maine landscape has influenced his poems. Enslin's poems are musical, and indeed he has commented "I've often said that I like to be considered as a composer who happens to use words instead of notes." He's also said that "For me, poetry and music are one art. The greatest compliment that anyone could pay me: 'He was a composer who happened to use words.'" Many of Enslin's books and poems have been published by small presses.

Besides the Hart Crane prize for To Come, To Have Become, Enslin also won the Niemann Award in 1955 for his weekly newspaper column, "Six Miles Square."

Selected Bibliography

  • The Work Proposed (1958)
  • Barometric Pressure 29.83 and Steady (a play, produced in New York in 1965)
  • To Come, To Have Become (1966; won the Hart Crane Award)
  • New Sharon's Prospect & Journals (1966)
  • Characters in Certain Places (1967)
  • Views 1-7 (1970)
  • In the Keeper's House (1973)
  • The Last Days of October (1974)
  • The Mornings (1974)
  • Sitio (1974)
  • Fever Poems (1974)
  • Mahler (1975; extended essay)
  • The Median Flow: Poems, 1943-1973
  • Carmina (1976)
  • Ascensions (1977)
  • 16 Blossoms in February (1978)
  • The Fifth Direction (1980)
  • Two Geese: Two Poems (1980)
  • Markings (1981)
  • Processionals (1981)
  • In Duo Concertante (1981)
  • Knee Deep in the Atlantic (1981)
  • Fragments --- Epigrammata (1982)
  • A Man in Stir (1983; graphics by Bill Nelson)
  • Weather within: In Memoriam George Oppen (1986)
  • Music in the Key of C (1995)
  • Then, and Now: Selected Poems 1943-1993 (1998/1999; edited by Mark Nowak; includes 1997 interview with Enslin)
  • Re-sounding: Selected Later Poems (1999)
  • Sequentiae (1999)
  • Nine (2000/2004)

Selected Resources