Frederick Turner is an American poet, polymath and academic. He was born in Northamptonshire, England, in 1943. After spending several years in central Africa, where his parents, the anthropologists Victor W. and Edith L. B. Turner, were conducting field research, Frederick Turner was educated at the University of Oxford (1962-67), where he obtained the degrees of BA, MA, and BLitt. (a terminal degree equivalent to the PhD.) in English Language and Literature. He was naturalized as a US citizen in 1977.
Turner is the author of ten books of poetry, a novel, and numerous books on literature, philosophy, and classicism, including the controversial The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit. He has authored a number of scholarly works on topics ranging from beauty and the biological basis of artistic production and appreciation to complexity and Julius Thomas Fraser’s umwelt theory of time. Mr. Turner is also the author of two science fiction epic poems, The New World and Genesis.
Turner is a winner of the Milan Fust Prize (Hungary’s highest literary honor), the Levinson Poetry Prize (awarded by Poetry), the PEN Dallas Chapter Golden Pen Award, the Missouri Review essay prize, the David Robert Poetry prize, the Gjenima Prize, and several other literary, artistic and academic honors. He has participated in literary and TV projects that have won a Benjamin Franklin Book Award and an Emmy, respectively. He is a fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004 and every year following 2006.
Turner is presently Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, having held academic positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara (assistant professor 1967–72), Kenyon College (associate professor 1972–85), and the University of Exeter in England (visiting professor 1984–85). From 1978–82 he was editor of The Kenyon Review. He has been married since 1966 to Mei Lin Turner and has two sons. He is also a second degree black belt in karate.
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
An interdisciplinary scholar, devotee of the classics, and leading practitioner of Expansive Poetry, Frederick Turner asks in the introduction to Hadean Eclogues, “Suppose there could be a poetry, even a scientific description of reality, that left undamaged the principles, the honor, the history and myth, the ritual, the intellectual criteria of believers and unbelievers—as long as they were people of depth and thought and imagination?”