Janet Lewis

Janet Lewis was a very prolific poet of the Chicago circle, having taught at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkley. Lewis was not only a poet, but also a writer of short stories, novels, and libretti.

Print This Page




    Born in Chicago, Illinois, Janet Lewis was a very influential writer in and active member of the University of Chicago Poetry Club. Her marriage to poet Yvor Winters in 1926 proved important, as together they founded a literary magazine entitled Gyroscope, which lasted from from 1929 to 1931.

    Lewis’s poetry is distinctly American in subject matter. Her first collection of verse, The Indians in the Woods of 1922, stemmed from a childhood fascination with Native Americans. This fascination continued even into her late volumes of poetry, such as The Ancient Ones of 1979, which Suzanne Doyle of Southern Review referred to as “a temperamental affinity of the poet for the Indian consciousness.”

    Lewis also collaborated with composer Alva Henderson on song texts (as well as libretti).

    Theodore Roethke wrote in Poetry that Lewis’s poetry “is marked by an absolute integrity of spirit and often by the finality in phrasing that can accompany such integrity.”

    –Christie Finn

    Related Information


    Support us and help us grow

    Dear friends, Thank you for helping us build a comprehensive online archive of American song. Your gift is greatly appreciated.