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Julie Hill Alger Biography | Poet

Photo of Julie Hill Alger

Julie Hill Alger was born in Norfolk, Virginia on March 13, 1927 and died in Amherst, Massachusetts on January 13, 1995. Her parents were Rear Admiral James Albert and Marjorie (Hill) Alger. She had a brother, Captain David M. Alger and a daughter, Victoria Alger White, with ex-husband, John White. Although much of her poetry was written later in her life, she is considered one of the best 20th century contemporary American poets.

Major Works and Achievements

Julie Hill Alger's most critically acclaimed poem is Death In the Family, a poem comparing the death of a loved one to the death of a pet. Opening the Geode reflects the magnitude of the creation of the earth compared to the simplicity of making food from a recipe. Tuesday's Child is a sad reflection of a mother who has given birth to a sick baby. Pictures of Home demonstrates the gravity of the memories of war and acknowledges the importance of freedom. Lesson 1 describes the simple realities of life. Marketplace Report January 23, 1991 speaks of the affect war has on the economy.

Throughout her life, Ms. Algers served on many boards and committees. She dedicated her time to helping writers and furthering the causes of feminism and animal protection. She was a member of many boards and committees including the Western Massachusetts Chapter of National Writers Union, University of Massachusetts Staff Association, Amherst Writers and Artists and the National Organization of Women.

Education and Work

Raised in a navy family, Julie Hill Alger, moved with her family often during her youth. She graduated from San José State College in 1966 and completed her graduate work at Simmons College and the University of Massachusetts. She taught at the University of Massachusetts, was a Writer In Residence at Cummington Community of the Arts and worked as a freelance writer who produced poetry, haiku and stories throughout her life but most of her published work was written during the latter years of her life and she was a visible poet in the internet age.

Significance as a Poet

Julie Hill Alger is considered one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century. In addition to poetry, Ms. Alger wrote short fiction and beautiful haiku. Her themes of family, war, animals, death and more illustrate the realities of life and ironically place things in perspective for the reader. Her poetry is simple. Her portrayal of life and its realistic difficulties is ironically written to accentuate that what we think is very important may not be that special in the grand scheme of life. The poetry is sensitive and sad yet strong and inspiring. It is the juxtaposition in life that Ms. Alger's so poignantly writes about. Her work is creative, reflective and inspiring.

In the internet age, Ms. Alger was able to reach people of all generations with her inspiring poetry. Studied in universities, her poetry is critically acclaimed for its style and message. Although her life was cut short by cancer, Ms. Alger produced most of her best work toward the end of her life. She continued to be active in the writing community until her death in 1994. She thoroughly enjoyed spending the last years of her life living in "Emily Dickenson's" town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Ms. Alger will continue to be studied and read and appreciated as one of the major contemporary poets of the twentieth century. 

More information can be found at

Julie Hill Alger: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes

Book: Shattered Sighs