Anna Thilda May " May " Swenson was born in Perr, Utah to Swedish immigrant parents—and she grew up speaking Swedish at home. Swenson earned a BA from Utah State University and briefly worked as a journalist in Salt Lake City. She moved to New York City in the 1930s. Swenson is considered one of mid-twentieth-century America ’ s foremost poets.
Swenson ’ s literature was widely praised for its precise and beguiling imagery, and for the quality of its personal and imaginative observations. Swenson ’ s bility to draw out the metaphysical implications of the material world were widely commented on; but she was also known for her lighthearted, even joyous, take on life.
Swenson left New York City in 1967, when she moved to Sea Cliff, Long Island where she lived with her partner, the author R.R. Knudson. During her prolific career, Swenson received numerous literary awards and nominations for her oetry. She taught and served as poet-in-residence at many universitie in both the United States and Canada, and she held fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Ar, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. She was the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, the Bollingen Prize, and ward in Literature from the National Universit of Arts and Letters. She received an honorary ph from Utah State University as well as their Distinguished Service Gold Medal. Swenson was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1980-1989.
-- from The Poetry Foundation