Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Fredrick Nims  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: November 20, 1913 in Muskegon, Michigan

Died: January 13, 1999 in Chicago, Illinois

-- John Frederick Nims on --
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-- John Fredrick Nims on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Nims lived in Chicago from 1961 - 1973. In 1976, he returned to Chicago and in 1982, he started spending his winters in Gainesville, Florida. He continued living in Chicago until his death in 1999.

Biographical and Professional Information

John Frederick Nims was born in Muskegon, Michigan. He was educated at DePaul University, the University of Notre Dame - where he met his wife, Bonnie Larkin Nims. He received his Ph.D in 1945 from the University of Chicago. By that time, he had already distinguished himself as a poet and critic. Nims was a Goodwill Ambassador in Europe for the United States and he and his wife resided in Chicago upon their return to the States in 1961. In 1973, John and Bonnie moved to Gainesville, Florida so that John could be a visiting professor at the University of Florida. They returned to Chicago in 1976 and Nims was an editor of ''Poetry'' magazine from 1978 to 1984. While spending winters in Gainesville, Florida after 1982, John continued to live in Chicago until his death in 1999.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The iron pastoral

William Sloane Associates. 1947

A fountain in Kentucky,: And other poems

Sloane. 1950

Of flesh and bones

Rutgers University Press. 1967

Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, 5th Edition
ISBN: 0072819596

McGraw-Hill. 2005

WESTERN WIND is an introduction to the elements of craft that make poetry sing, a superior anthology of classic and contemporary poetry, and a guide for students to poetics, writing about poetry, and critical theory. In this text, two well respected poets bring their love of the craft of poetry into a book that teaches as well as inspires. The text also includes exercises, chapter summaries, games, diagrams, illustrations, and 4-color reproductions of great works of art.

A Local Habitation: Essays on Poetry (Poets on Poetry)
ISBN: 0472063561

University of Michigan Press. 1985

Explores the timelessness of the poetic voice from Ovid to Plath.

The six-cornered snowflake

Sea Cliff Press. 1991

Zany in Denim
ISBN: 1557281548

Univ of Arkansas Pr. 1991

Zany in Denim

The Powers of Heaven and Earth: New and Selected Poems
ISBN: 0807128260

LSU Press. 2002

Among the papers of the late John Frederick Nims was a group of poems selected by the poet from his more than sixty-year career. The Powers of Heaven and Earth presents that choice verse―generous portions from the eight superbly varied and beautifully crafted collections Nims published between 1947 and 1990. In addition, this incomparably rich volume includes thirty new poems published during Nims’s last decade.

Rhythmically precise yet delightfully playful, Nims’s work bestows on readers those qualities of mind and heart well known to colleagues, students, and friends―his wit, lightly carried erudition, and generosity of spirit. From first to last, there is no falling off. Nims’s irrepressible joy in his work constantly illuminates the verse collected here, joining together a lifetime of keen observation with speculation on the nature of eternity.