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Macha Louis Rosenthal Edit Profile

director , editor , poet

Macha Louis Rosenthal, American author, educator. Recipient Explicator Foundation award, 1984, 1st Yeats Society award for Distinguished Contributions to Yeats Scholarship, 1993; Fellow American Council Learned Societies, 1942, 50-51, Guggenheim Foundation, 1960-1961, 64-65, Rockefeller Foundation Research Center, Bellagio, Italy, 1988.


Rosenthal, Macha Louis was born on March 14, 1917 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States. Son of Jacob and Ethel (Brown) Rosenthal.


Bachelor of Arts, University of Chicago, 1937;Master of Arts, University of Chicago, 1938;Doctor of Philosophy, New York University, 1949.


His 1959 essay, as Confession, is credited with being the first application of the term 'confession' to the writing of poetry and therefore for the naming of the confessional poetry movement. He earned his B.A. (1937) and M.A. (1938) degrees at the University of Chicago. From 1939 to 1945, he taught as an instructor in English at Michigan State University.

In 1946, he was hired as an instructor at New York University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1949. In 1961, he served in the U.S. Cultural Exchange Program and was visiting specialist to Germany. In 1965, to Pakistan.

In 1966, to Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria. And in 1980, to Italy and France. In 1974, he was a visiting poet in Israel.

From 1977 to 1979 he served as director of the Poetics Institute at New York University, where he was a professor of English until 1996. He contributed poems, articles, and reviews to such leading journals as The New Yorker, the New Statesman, , The Spectator (London), ELH, and The Quarterly Review. He also served, from 1956–1961, as poetry editor of The Nation.

From 1970-1978 as poetry editor of The Humanist. And from 1973-1990 as poetry editor of Present Tense. He published numerous books of criticism and collections of verse and edited various anthologies of poetry.

In 1973 Rosenthal was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II. M. L. Rosenthal died on July 21, 1996.


  • The W. B. Yeats Society of New York renamed their award for achievement in Yeats studies the M. L. Rosenthal Award after Rosenthal's death. Rosenthal was a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and twice won Guggenheim Fellowships (1960–1964).



Member American Association of University Professors, Modern Language Association, Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association, Poetry Society American (vice president, Board of Governors 1989-1992), American Literature Association, Yeats Society, Phi Beta Kappa. M C.


Married Victoria Himmelstein, January 7, 1939. Children: David, Alan, Laura.

Jacob Rosenthal

Ethel (Brown) Rosenthal

Victoria Himmelstein

David Rosenthal

Alan Rosenthal

Laura Rosenthal