by George J. Dance


Elliott Coleman (1906)-1980). Courtesy Johns Hopkins University.

Elliott Coleman (September 26, 1906 - February 23, 1980) was an American poet and academic.[1]


Coleman was born in Binghamton, New York, the son of an Episcopal minister.[1]

He graduated from Wheaton College in 1928, and then taught for 12 years at the Asheville School, a boys school in Asheville North Carolina. He published his debut collection of poetry in 1936.[1]

Coleman then studied theology, at Princeton Theological School, Oxford University, and the General Theological Seminary in New York.[1] In 1940 he was ordained an Episcopal deacon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.[2]

Shortly after the death of his father, Coleman turned from religion to publishing,[2] working in New York for Henry Holt & Co., 1942-1943, and Doubleday & Co., 1943-1945.[1]

In 1945 Coleman joined the Johns Hopkins University faculty. In September 1946 he founded the Department of Writing, Speech and Drama, which became The Writing Seminars, which he founded in 1947 (only the 2nd such program in the country), which he ran for almost 30 years.[1]

For almost 30 years, Coleman ran The Writing Seminars, attracting writers such as Karl Shapiro, E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, Katharine Anne Porter, W.H. Auden, and Robert Frost to work with his students. His students included Pulitzer Prize-winnter Russell Baker and National Book Award winner John Barth, as well as Julia Randall, Joseph Whitehill, Richard Kim, Josephine Jacobsen,[1] and Myra Sklarew.[2]

Coleman was a scholar whose work dealt with the literary criticism of Marcel Proust, T.S. Eliot and James Joyce. He edited a volume of the poems of Byron, Keats, and Shelley, and translated the poems of Pierre Emmanuel, Georges Poulet, and Alfredo Rizzandi. He also published more than a dozen volumes of original poetry.[1]

He remained chairman of this department until his retirement in 1975.[1]

Coleman died on February 23, 1980 in Baltimore.[1]


The Eliot Coleman professorship in the Writing Seminars was established in his memory by students and friends in 1993.[3]



  • Poems. New York: Dutton, 1936.
  • An American in Augustland. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1940.
  • Pearl Harbor: A memoir in verse. New York: Hudson Press, 1942.
  • 27 Night Sonnets. Milan, Italy: G. Scheiwiller, for New Directions, 1949.
  • A Glass Darkly: New sonnets. Baltimore, MD: Contemporary Poetry, 1952.
  • 33 Night Sonnets. Baltimore, MD: Contemporary Poetry, 1955.
  • Mockingbirds at Fort McHenry. Pamplona, Spain: Atlantis Editions, 1963.
  • Broken Death. Baltimore, MD: Linden Press, 1964.
  • Rose Demonics, 1932-1966 (edited by Stephen Wiest). Baltimore, MD: Linden Press, 1967.
  • One Hundred Poems. Chapel Hill, NC: Tinker Press, 1972.
  • The Tangerine Birds. Baltimore, MD: Harbor House, 1973.
  • In the Canyon. Baltimore, MD: Bay Press, 1974.
  • Four Counties of Youth. Tunnel, NY: Geryon Press, 1980.


  • Lectures in Criticism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949.
  • The Golden Angel: Papers on Proust. New York: C. Taylor, 1954.
  • Johns Hopkins. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1976.


  • Georges Poulet, Studies in Human Time. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1956; Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979.
  • Alfredo Rizzardi, Sonnetti. Bologna, Italy: Libreria Antiquaria Palmaverde, 1959.
  • Georges Poulet, The Interior Distance. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1959.
  • Georges Poulet, Metamorphoses of the Circle (translated with Carley Dawson). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1966.


  • Poems of Byron, Keats, and Shelley. London: Guild, 1982.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

Audio / videoEdit

  • Elliott Coleman reading his poems with comment in the Recording Laboratory, Mar. 31, 1970 (tape). Washington, DC: Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, Library of Congress, 1970.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Elliott Coleman, Wheaton History A to Z, Wheaton College. Web, Dec. 25, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Myra Sklarew, "Elliott Coleman's Seminary for Writers," Fortnightly Review. Web, Dec. 25, 2018.
  3. Elliot Coleman Professorship in the Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University. Web, Dec. 25, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Search results = au:Elliott Coleman, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Dec. 25, 2018.

External linksEdit

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