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Hamilton Adair, Virginia

Category: Poet

Virginia Hamilton Adair (1913 -  2004) was an American poet who became famous later in life with the publication of Ants on the Melon and her book Beliefs and Blasphemies.

Adair composed her first poem at the age of two and went on to compose over a thousand poems. Exposed to poetry as a young child through her father, she began writing her own poems regularly at age six.   But, though she published some work during the 1930s and 1940s, Adair did not publish again for almost 50 years.

There were several factors which prevented her over those decades, and took her attention away from publishing her own work. These included her 1936 marriage to prominent historian Douglass Adair, motherhood, and an academic career - Hamilton was professor emerita at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California where she taught from 1957 to 1980.

Adair's return to poetry came in the 1990s, following her husband's 1968 suicide, her retirement from teaching, and her loss of sight from glaucoma – so principally grief and blindness.

Adair's friend and fellow poet Robert Mezey forwarded some of her work to Alice Quinn, The New Yorker's poetry editor. The New Yorker published the work in 1995, and the subsequently published "Ants on the Melon".


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