501 E High St, Oxford, OH 45056, United States
Torrence attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Torrence attended Princeton University.
Torrence attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Princeton University. He left Princeton at the end of 1896 without receiving a degree.
In 1896 Torrence went to New York, finding work as a librarian. It was during this time that his first poetry collection, The House of a Hundred Lights: A Psalm of Experience after Reading a Couplet of Bidpai, was published. It came out in a limited edition of 750 copies and, the collection of one hundred quatrains in the style of the medieval Persian poet Omar Khayyam is not impressive. For the most part, it offers truisms and commentaries, usually of a cryptic or cynical nature. It was, however, Torrence’s only collection of poetry for a quarter century, until Hesperides appeared in 1925.
Instead, he concentrated on writing verse and prose drama for the New York theater. He found his greatest success with Granny Maumee, The Rider of Dreams, Simon the Cyrenian: Plays for a Negro Theater, plays that drew on his memories of black life in Xenia and which, were regarded as major achievements in the American theater and milestones in the realistic depiction of blacks.
It was while Torrence was serving as poetry editor of the New Republic that he began collecting his verse again. The anthology Hesperides was released in 1925 and received general critical acclaim. Torrence’s friend Edwin Arlington Robinson reportedly ‘raged’ when the volume failed to receive a Pulitzer Prize.
His next volume was eagerly awaited, but it would not appear until 1941. Even then, according to Louis Untermeyer in the Saturday Review of Literature, the volume entitled Poems that appeared in 1941 was a reissue of ‘Hesperides’ with the addition of some new poems.
"Girl, when he gives you kisses twain, use one, and let the other stay; And hoard it, for moons die, red fades, and you may need a kiss - some day."
"Whatever Juice this sky will pour this gaping parched old throat will drain; What time the Harper harps I'll dance: 'tis He, not I, who shall complain. Meal may be scarce and cakes be burnt, yet I weep not nor even scold: The sun is food enough for me, 't is large, and has not yet grown cold."
"I saw them kissing in the shade and knew the sum of all my lore: God gave them Youth, God gave them Love, and even God can give no more."
"Though man or angel judge my life and read it like an open scroll, And weigh my heart, I have judge more just than any—my own soul."
"The Song of Love, the Song of Hate, the Songs of Praise and of Thanksgiving; I've learned them all, but there remains one called the Melody of Living."
"Sometimes I think that all mankind exist but to be bought and sold: The rich man's paramour is gold, the poor man's goddess, gold, gold, gold."
Quotes from others about the person
“Torrence is a true American mystic, heir to the Transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau.” - Saturday Review contributor
In 1914, Torrence married author Olivia Howard Dunbar.