Sarton, May

Sarton, May,

1912–95, American poet and novelist, b. Wondelgem, Belgium. Her father was the science historian George Sarton; the family moved to the United States in 1916. Although cast in traditional molds and extremely lyrical, her poetry is modern in its wit and avoidance of dogmatism. In poetry and prose she concentrated on themes of love, solitude, individual uniqueness, and self-knowledge. Among her volumes of poetry are Encounter in April (1937), In Time Like Air (1957), Collected Poems 1930–1973 (1974), and Coming Into Eighty (1994). Her many novels include The Bridge of Years (1946), Faithful Are The Wounds (1955), The Small Room (1961), Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965), As We Are Now (1973), A Reckoning (1978), Anger (1982), and The Education of Harriet Hatfield (1989). She is also known for such autobiographical works as Plant Dreaming Deep (1969), Journal of a Solitude (1973), Recovering (1980), Encore: A Journal of the 80th Year (1993), and At Eighty-Two (1995).


See biography by A. Sibley (1972); studies by C. Hunting, ed. (1982), E. Evans (1989), and S. Swartzlander and M. R. Mumford, ed. (1992).

Sarton, (Eleanor) May

(1912–  ) poet, writer; born in Wondelgem, Belgium (daughter of George Sarton). She grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and attended Shady Hill School (1917–26). She published poetry early, trained at the Civic Repertory Theatre in New York City (1929–33), and traveled widely. A noted teacher at many institutions, she is known for her poetry, short stories, novels, and memoirs, such as Endgame: A Journal of the Seventy-Ninth Year (1992). She settled in York, Maine, and in her later years became something of a cult figure to a circle of women.