George Edwin Starbuck (June 15, 1931, Columbus, Ohio â" August 15, 1996, Tuscaloosa, Alabama) was an American poet of the neo-formalist school.
Starbuck studied at Chadwick School, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, the American Academy in Rome, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. He taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Boston University, and the State University of New York, Buffalo. He was fired by SUNY-Buffalo for not taking a loyalty oath, but was vindicated by the Supreme Court. His students included Maxine Kumin, Peter Davison, Emily Hiestand, Mary Baine Campbell, Craig Lucas, James Hercules Sutton, and Askold Melnyczuk.
Starbuck had five children: Margaret, Stephen, John, Anthony, and Joshua. His papers are held at the University of Alabama library.
Starbuck's work is marked by clever rhymes, witty asides, and the fusing of Romantic themes with cynicism about modern life. For example, his book Bone Thoughts was published with half its pages blank, and he called his style of formalism "SLABS" (Standard Length And Breadth Sonnets. He was not widely appreciated in the mainstream culture during his lifetime, but two new collections of his poems have been published in the last few years, Poems Selected from Five Decades and Visible Ink, helping win him a wider audience.
Starbuck's best-known poems include "Tuolomne," "On an Urban Battlefield," and "Sonnet With a Different Letter At the End of Every Line."
- 1993 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry
- 1982 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, for The Argot Merchant Disaster: Poems New and Selected
- 1960 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition
- Kathryn Starbuck, Elizabeth A. Meese, ed. (November 2003). The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. University of Alabama Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-8173-1378-4.Â
- Kathryn Starbuck, Elizabeth A. Meese, ed. (March 2002). Visible Ink. University of Alabama Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-8173-1154-4.Â
- The Argot Merchant Disaster: Poems New and Selected. Little, Brown. 1982. ISBNÂ 978-0-316-81081-4.Â
- Desperate Measures, D. R. Godine, August 1978
- Elegy in a Country Church Yard, September 1975
- White Paper, Little, Brown, 1966
- Bone Thoughts, 1960 reprint. AMS Press. 1971. ISBNÂ 978-0-404-53856-9.Â
- Lorrie Goldensohn, ed. (2006). "Of Late". American War Poetry: An Anthology. Columbia University Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-231-13310-4.Â
- Ralph Maud, ed. (2000). Selected letters. University of California Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-520-20580-2.Â