Philip Booth (1925-2007)

An Atlantic poet remembered

By David Barber

The poet Philip Booth, who died last month at the age of 81, contributed a number of poems to the Atlantic over a span of more than thirty years. Born in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he would later study poetry with Robert Frost at Dartmouth College, Booth published ten collections of laconic, scrupulously crafted lyric verse notable for its spare colloquial language and contemplative presence of mind. Much of his work drew on his intimate local knowledge of the Down East Maine coast in and around his ancestral summer home in Castine, which he portrayed with an exacting nautical eye and a down-to-earth affinity for its flinty vernacular culture. He taught for more than two decades at Syracuse University, and lived year-round in Castine following his retirement in the 1980s. Elected as a fellow of the Academy of American Poets in 1983, Booth’s books include Letter from a Distant Land (1957), winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize, and Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999. Here are two of the poems Booth originally published in the Atlantic:

“Ox-Pull: Canaan Fair” (August 1954)

“Sixty” (March 1988)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/08/philip-booth-1925-2007/306137/