Poet Laureate of the United States from 1944 to 1945, Robert Penn Warren's poetry has been set to music by American composer Lee Hoiby as part of Hoiby's song cycle Southern Voices. Carlisle Floyd's opera Willie Stark is based on Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the King's Men (1947).
Photo: Robert Penn Warren, 1968, public domain
Born in Kentucky, Robert Penn Warren studied at Vanderbilt University and was involved in The Fugitives, an informal group of Southern intellectuals, which also included Allen Tate.
Warren taught at several universities in the United States and was an important figure in the New Criticism movement, a movement that prodded a reader to interpret a poem based solely on the text.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize that he won for All the King's Men, Warren received two subsequent Pulitzers for his poetry volumes Promises (1958) and Now and Then (1979). The American South is always a present force in Warren's poetry and fiction.