Laura Riding (née Reichenthal), a widely noted poet of the 20th century, was educated at Cornell University and became the only female member of the southern literary group, “The Fugitives,” which included Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. In 1925, she moved to Europe to collaborate with the English poet and writer Robert Graves (author of I, Claudius). After living and working in Egypt and Europe, they founded The Seizin Press in London in 1927 before settling in Deia (Mallorca, Spain) and hosted many international scholars and writers. In 1939, Laura and Robert returned to New York and were invited to stay with Time magazine poetry critic, Schuyler B. Jackson, in Pennsylvania. Laura Riding and Schuyler Jackson later married in 1941. In 1943, Laura and Schuyler moved to Wabasso, Florida and bought their small frame home on 11 acres of citrus groves.

In the early 1940s, Laura renounced the writing of poetry to pursue what she considered “something better in our linguistic way of life than we have.” The Jacksons raised citrus organically and shipped it to Northern markets to support their work on an unprecedented dictionary in which each word would have only one definition. Eventually this project was expanded into a monumental study of the nature and function of language. Schuyler died in 1968, and Laura completed the project before her death on September 2, 1991. The Jackson’s book, Rational Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words and Supplementary Essays, was published in 1997 by University Press of Virginia.

Hear Laura reading her own poetry

Find a list of Laura’s Major Works here