John Malcolm Brinnin (September 13, 1916 – June 25, 1998) was an American poet and literary critic. Brinnin was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to two United States citizens.
Life and work
When still a boy, Brinnin's parents moved to Detroit, Michigan. Brinnin went to the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies where he won three Hopwood Awards in 1938, 1939 and 1940. He worked his way through school in an Ann Arbor book store. During part of this time (1936–1938), Brinnin served as the editor of the journal Signatures. Graduating from Michigan in 1942, Brinnin went to Harvard University for graduate work.
From 1949 to 1956 Brinnin was Director of the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association Poetry Center, popularly known today as the 92nd Street Y. While there he raised the center to national attention as a focal point for poetry in the United States. He was, for example, the first person to bring Dylan Thomas to the United States and his 1955 book Dylan Thomas in America describes much of his attempt to befriend and help the troubled Welsh poet.
In addition to his work on Thomas, Brinnin published six volumes of his own poetry. Brinnin also wrote scholarly works on T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Truman Capote, and William Carlos Williams; and published three personal travelogues.
Brinnin taught in a number of universities over his career. At various times, he gave courses at Vassar College, Boston University, the University of Connecticut, and Harvard University.
Brinnin died in Key West, Florida on June 25, 1998. His papers were left to the University of Delaware.
In the 2014 UK Dylan Thomas television drama A Poet in New York Brinnin is portrayed by Ewen Bremner. Also in 2014, in the Thomas semi-biographical film Set Fire to the Stars, Brinnin is portrayed by Elijah Wood.