Biography of Genevieve Taggard

Genevieve Taggard was born in Waitsburg, Washington in November of 1894. Her parents, James and Alta Taggard were both school teachers and devoted Christians. When she was only two years old the family moved to Honolulu. Taggard’s parents worked as missionaries around the island and founded a school in which they taught. 



Taggard was only three years old when she began to write poetry. In 1914 her family left their school in Hawaii and returned to the mainland US. Soon after this Taggard enrolled at the University of California, Berkley. It was during this period of time that she became engaged in the Socialist movement. She also delved into the literary community as she was working to achieve her BA. 


Early Career

In 1919, Taggard graduated from Berkley and moved east to New York City. Two years later she was working for the publisher B.W. Huebsch. She went on to found the journal Measure: A Journal of Poetry. She worked at this publication alongside fellow writer Maxwell Anderson. 

Around this same time period, she published her first collection, For Eager Lovers. This was the first of a total of thirteen collections she would compete during her short lifetime. Her second collection, Hawaiian Hilltop, was released in 1923. She would then go on to edit, May Days: An Anthology of Verse from Masses-Liberator (1925) and publish Words for the Chisel (1928).

In 1921, she married Robert Wolf, a poet, and novelist. Together they had one child, Marcia. Taggard lived in New York for the rest of the 1920s and spent a period of her residency there teaching at Mount Holyoke College. In 1931, she was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship, with which she traveled to Majorca, and a year later she accepted a position at Bennington College. While her professional career was progressing, her personal life was not fairing quite as well. She and Wolf divorced in 1934, and she remarried the next year to a man named, Kenneth Durant. 


Later Life

The year 1934 continued to bring changes to Taggard’s life, when she started working at Sarah Lawrence College. Her next collection, Calling Western Union, was published in 1936. She continued to publish throughout the 1930s and 1940s, amassing an impressive thirteen collections before her death in 1948, at the age of 53.  

During Taggard’s life and after her death, composers such as William Schuman and Roy Harris set her works to music. 

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