Brewster Ghiselin—American poet, academic, creator of the Utah’s Writer’s Conference—was born in Webster Groves, Missouri June 13, 1903.
The son of educated parents, Ghiselin himself did not start school until he was 7. At the age of sixteen, he moved to California, where he lived just north of San Francisco, graduating from Tamalpais High School in 1922. Ghiselin went on to attend Berkeley as a painting student in the early 1920’s, only to soon drop out due to his disgust with, as he said, “the puerility of the teaching in the undergraduate courses, and with the atmosphere of childish inconsequence on the part of the ancestors of the troublemakers of the sixties.”
After working at a couple of newpapers, he returned to college a year later at UCLA (then known as Southern Branch). He earned an MA in English, and continued his studies at Oxford. Just prior to attending Oxford, Ghiselin decided to hunt down his literary idol DH Lawrence, tracking the dying author to his retreat at the Hotel Beau Rivage in Bandol, France. There, the 25-year-old Ghiselin spent several days with Lawrence and his wife Frieda, having accepted their invitation to extend his stay with them. Ghiselin returned to Oxford newly inspired, writing a prolific amount of poetry that went unpublished for several years.
Ghiselin’s relationship with Utah started off on an uneven note. He taught at the University of Utah from 1929 to 1931, but then left “because,” as he wrote, “the climate and the int