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Stephen Vincent Benet Biography | Poet

Photo of Stephen Vincent Benet
Stephen Vincent Benét (July 22, 1898, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania– March 13, 1943) was a United States author, poet, short story writer and novelist. He is best known for his narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown's Body, published in 1928. He won a Pulitzer Prize for this work in 1929.

Benet's fantasy short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" won an O. Henry award, and he furnished the material for a one-act opera by Douglas Moore.

Benét was born into an Army family in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, and spent most of his boyhood in Benicia, California. At the age of about ten, Benét was sent to the Hitchcock Military Academy. A graduate of The Albany Academy in Albany, New York and Yale University, he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for "Western Star", an unfinished narrative poem on the settling of America.

It was a line of Benet's poetry that gave the title to Dee Brown's famous history of the destruction of Native American tribes by the United States, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

His brother, William Rose Benét (1886–1950), was a poet, anthologist and critic who is largely remembered for his desk reference, The Reader's Cyclopedia (1948).

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