Conrad Potter Aiken was born on August 5, 1889 in Savannah, Georgia. He attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where he edited the school newspaper, played baseball, and won a tennis doubles championship. In 1907, he entered Harvard University and became friends with T.S. Eliot. Knowing he was destined to be a poet from an early age, Aiken is paradoxically regarded by some critics as both a dazzling craftsman and by others as being long-winded and vague. However, many critics feel that he was central to American literature, a "literary period in himself." Aiken is perhaps best known for his 1930 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Selected Poems (1929), but he regarded the poem "Ushant" as his most satisfying work. In almost all of Aiken's works, his overriding concern has been to resolve what might be called a personal identity crisis in terms of the cosmic evolution of consciousness and one's relationship to the world at large. In the 1920s Aiken turned to short story writing to supplement his income. Overall, he published more than 50 titles, including 35 collections of poetry, five novels, one autobiographical essay, and several collections of short stories and criticism. Conrad Aiken died on August 17, 1973 at the age of 84.