Theodore Enslin

Theodore Vernon Enslin (1925-2011) was an American poet associated with Cid Corman’s Origin and press and widely regarded as one of the most musical of American avant-garde poets.

Enslin was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. His father was a biblical scholar and his mother a Latin scholar. He studied musical composition at Cambridge, Massachusetts. His teacher, Nadia Boulanger, was the first person to recognize his ability as a writer and encouraged him to pursue his interest in poetry. He has said “I like to be considered as a composer who happens to use words instead of notes.” Hs first book, The Work Proposed, was published by Origin in 1958.

Enslin moved to Maine in 1960 and has lived in Washington County ever since, working at odd jobs and making and selling handmade walking sticks. The Maine landscape forms an integral part of his poetry, as does the isolation, both geographic and in terms of distance from literary fashion and the academy his life on the physical margin of the United States allows. Ranger is one of the key American long poems of the second half of the 20th century.