Other info : Bibliography
Joseph Rodman Drake was an early American poet.
Born in New York City,
he was orphaned when young and entered a mercantile house. While still a
child, he showed a talent for writing poems. He was educated at Columbia.
In 1813 he began studying in a physician's office. In 1816 he began to
practice medicine and in the same year was married to Sarah, daughter of
Henry Eckford, the naval architect.
In 1819, together with his friend and fellow poet Fitz-Greene Halleck, he wrote a series of satirical verses for the New York Evening Post, which were published under the penname "The Croakers." Drake died a year later, of consumption, at the age of twenty-five.
As a writer, Drake is considered part of the "Knickerbocker group", a group which also included Halleck as well as Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, James Kirke Paulding, Gulian Crommelin Verplanck, Robert Charles Sands, Lydia M. Child, and Nathaniel Parker Willis. A collection, The Culprit Fay and Other Poems,
was published posthumously by his daughter in 1835. His best-known
poems are the long title-poem of that collection, and the patriotic "The
American Flag" which was set as a cantata for two soloists, choir and
orchestra by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák in 1892-93, as his Op. 102.
Fitz-Greene Halleck's poem "Green be the turf above thee" was written as a memorial to Drake. Joseph Rodman Drake Park in Hunts Point, Bronx, was named for him in 1915.