William Pratt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1927. He earned his B.A. degree in English at the University of Oklahoma. He received his Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University with his thesis on William Faulkner and his dissertation on Henry James, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot. In 1957 Pratt joined the English Faculty at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He has lectured widely on Modern Poetry and American Literature.
In 1965 he published the first edition of The Fugitive Poets which features the work of eight of the poets ( John Crowe Ransom, Stanley Johnson, Donald Davidson, Alec Brock Stevenson, Allen Tate, Merrill Moore, Jesse Wills and Robert Penn Warren ). In 1991 he published an expanded edition with an updated and revised introduction. This new edition includes in addition to the eight poets of the first edition: Sidney Mttron Hirsch, Laura Riding, Robert Graves, John Gould Fletcher, Hart Crane, and Andrew Lytle . "Professor Pratt's detailed treatment of the Fugitive Poets and his recognition of their prominent role in twentieth-century literature constitute an important historical revision."
His most recent work on poetry Singing the Chaos: Madness and Wisdom in Modern Poetry (1996) includes discussion of the poetry of John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and Laura Riding.
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