Laura Riding, a widely noted poet of the 20th century, was educated at Cornell University and became the only female member of the southern literary group, “The Fugitives,” which included Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom.
Majorca and Robert Graves
In 1925, she moved to Europe to collaborate with the English poet and writer Robert Graves (author of I, Claudius). After living and working in Egypt and Europe, they settled in Deià, in Majorca, Spain, founded the Seizin Press, and hosted many international scholars and writers (www.lacasaderobertgraves.com).
Florida and Schuyler Jackson
In 1939, Laura and Robert returned to New York and were invited to stay with Time Magazine poetry critic, Schuyler B. Jackson in Pennsylvania. Laura Riding and Schuyler Jackson later married. In 1940, Laura and Schuyler moved to Wabasso, Florida and bought their small frame home on 11 acres of citrus grove.
Watch the video “To Be and Let Do”
In the early 1940s, Laura Riding renounced the writing of poetry to pursue what she considered “something better in our linguistic way of life than we have.”
The Jacksons raised citrus organically and shipped it to Northern markets to support their work on an unprecedented dictionary in which each word would have only one definition. Eventually this project was expanded into a monumental study of the nature and function of language. Schuyler died in 1968 and Laura completed the project before her death on September 2, 1991. The Jackson’s book, Rational Meaning: a New Foundation for the Definition of Words and Supplementary Essays was published in 1997 by University Press of Virginia.
Laura (Riding) Jackson died in Sebastian, Florida on September 2, 1991. She is recognized in Who’s Who in 20th Century Literature as, “the most consistently good woman poet of all time,” and was awarded the prestigious Bollingen Prize for her poetry in 1991.