James Laughlin

“James Laughlin: (1914-1997) American publisher, editor, and poet. The son of a wealthy Pittsburgh steelmaker, Laughlin was best known as the founder and guiding force behind New Directions Press. After an extended stay in Italy, where he studied with Ezra Pound, he founded New Directions Press at the age of twenty-two. He published then-unknown writers, commissioned the translation of a vast array of foreign books, and reprinted older books that Laughlin felt deserved attention. His excellent judgement is attested to by a survey of the New Directions catalogue, which included early books by Tennessee Williams, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Borges, and Nabokov. Laughlin is also a respected poet. In Another Country: Poems 1935-1975 (1978) showcases his spare style and precise, vibrant imagery, reflecting the precedent of the modernist writers he once published.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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