Joaquin Miller image
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Born in 1841 / Died in 1913 / United States / English


Joaquin Miller Born in Wabash District, Indiana, November 10, 1841; died at "The Heights," above San Francisco, California, 1913. The picturesque career of Joaquin Miller surpasses any romance that came from his hand. When a lad he tramped from his home in Oregon to the Sacramento Valley where gold fields were being opened and did whatever he could turn his hand to about the camps. He lived familiarly with the Indians and passed through many adventures in returning to his home in Oregon. Here he studied law, which he practiced for some time in Canyon City, and became a judge of Grant County. In 1870 he went to London with the manuscript of "Songs of the Sierras." Here he met Browning, Arnold, and other poets of the period and created a sensation in conventional London by his romantic personality. After his return to America he spent some time in journalistic work in Washington, D.C., but left it for California where he established himself in a beautiful home on "The Heights" above the Golden Gate. Save for occasional excursions, such as his trip to the Klondike, his remaining years were spent at this home. Joaquin Miller had great power to invoke the wild and majestic aspects of nature, and while he was often the victim of his facility, at his best he was a poet of rare gifts and unexcelled in his field as the interpreter of Wester life and landscape.

This biographical note is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.