1999-02-22

WILLIAM BRONK (b: 1918) was an American poet who died on this date. His book, Life Supports (1981), won the National Book Award for Poetry. He was a veteran of World War II and a businessman. After teaching at Union College for a brief period, he took over the family business of Bronk Coal and Lumber after his father’s early death. He ran it for 30 years in Hudson Falls, New York.

He first taught English at Union College Schenectady, New York. He left Union in June 1946 and returned to Hudson Falls. During the latter half of 1946, he completed work on The Brother in Elysium. In January 1947 Bronk took over management of the Bronk Coal and Lumber Company, which he had inherited in 1941 when his father died unexpectedly. Although he intended this work to be temporary, he ran the business for 30 years, retiring in 1978.

Bronk said that the poems emerged in his mind as he went through the business of the day. When one was ready, he put it on paper, working in longhand rather than at a typewriter. As his manuscripts attest, he seldom rewrote or modified, a poem once he wrote it on paper.