Knopf offers a poem-a-day during National Poetry Month

picture-51

Alfred A.Knopf in 1935

b.1892 – d.1984

.

.

Back in the 70’s when I was a Creative Director at Ballantine Books — the paperback division of Random House — I had the privilege to meet some of the most extraordinary men and women in the book pubishing world: Donald Klopher, Robert Bernstein, Ronald Bush, Robert Gottleib, Ian Ballantine, and Alfred Knopf, to name a few. Read Knopf’s bio for the history of publishing in the 20th Century. He was brave, strong, powerful, opinionated, creative, a risk taker and one of the few publishers willing to publish poetry in the so-called mainstream.

After receiving his B.A. in 1912, Knopf worked as a clerk at Doubleday (1912–1913), then as an editorial assistant to Michael Kennerly (1914). He founded his own publishing house in 1915. The company initially emphasized European, especially Russian, literature, hence the choice of the borzoi as a colophon. At that time European literature was largely neglected by American publishers; Knopf published authors such as Joseph Conrad, W. Somerset Maugham, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, André Gide, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Kafka.

Knopf also published many American authors, including H.L. Mencken, Theodore Dreiser, Vachel Lindsay, James M. Cain, Conrad Aiken, Dashiell Hammett, James Baldwin, John Updike, Shirley Ann Grau, and Knopf’s own favorite, Willa Cather. He often developed a personal friendship with his authors. Knopf’s personal interest in the fields of history, sociology, and science led to close friendships in the academic community with such noted historians as Richard Hofstadter, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Samuel Eliot Morison.

For more bio info

Honoring Knopf’s passion for publishing poetry, Knopf (a division of Random House) offers a Poem-A-Day each April. Go to Knopf and sign-up for a free daily poem, which often includes recordings of readings, broadsides, biographies, comments, background material, and food for the soul.

How may you use poetry as a point-of-departure? Post your artwork and comments here.

.

picture-42

.

.

.

.

.

.