Born in Belgium in 1912, moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1916 to escape the German Army during WW1. At the age of seventeen a series of sonnets was published in the December, 1930 issue of Poetry magazine, some of which were included in her first published volume, Encounter in April (1937).
The end of the 1930s was a rich, creative time for Sarton as her second volume of poetry, Inner Landscape (1939) appeared and the novel, Fire in the Mirror was completed, although never published. In 1940 Sarton undertook what was to become an annual poetry reading/lecture tour of colleges throughout the United States, beginning in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During the first half of the 1940s she worked at Pearl Buck's East and West Society in New York, writing documentary scripts for the United States War Information Office, all while continuing to produce poetry and novels. Finally, in 1946, her novel The Bridge of Years was published, followed two years later by the volume of poetry, The Lion and the Rose. Sarton continued to meet many prominent artists and writers, including H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman McPherson), Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden and the Sitwells: Dame Edith and her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell.
The 1950s, although filled with accomplishments, brought many tragedies, beginning with the death of her mother in 1950 and of her beloved Marie Closset in 1952. The losses, though great, would be tempered by meeting Judith Matlack, the woman with whom she would live for fifteen years, and to whom she would remain devoted until Matlack's death in 1982. In these years, she published her third and fourth novels, Shadow of a Man (1950), and Shower of Summer Days (1952), as well as a volume of poetry, The Land of Silence (1953) which won the Reynolds Lyric Award. In 1954 Sarton wrote her first memoir, I Knew a Phoenix, excerpts of which first appeared in the New Yorker. This genre became an important one for Sarton and...