Novelist and poet George Abbe was born in Somers, Connecticut. He earned a BA at the University of New Hampshire and an MFA at the University of Iowa. In his lyric poems, which are frequently rooted in the New England landscape, he draws extensively on metaphor and simile.
His poetry collections include Wait for These Things (1940), Bird in the Mulberry: Collected Lyrics, 1937-1954 (1954), The Incandescent Beast (1957), Collected Poems of George Abbe, 1932-1961 (1961), and Dreams & Dissent: New Poems 1961-1970 (1970). In 1961, he created two recordings for Folkways Records: Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry and Poetry-in-the-Round: A Poetry Workshop.
Abbe produced numerous volumes of prose, both fiction and nonfiction. His novels include Voices in the Square (1938), The Winter House (1957), and The Pigeon Lover (1981). His books on poetics include You and Contemporary Poetry: An Aid-to-Appreciation (1965) and Poetry, the Great Therapy: A Statement of Faith (1955). Abbe edited the volume Stephen Vincent Benét on Writing: A Great Writer’s Letters of Advice to a Young Beginner (1964). His memoir Abbe and Benet (1973) recounts the poets’ friendship.
He taught widely, primarily at colleges and universities in New England, including Mount Holyoke College, Yale University, Columbia University, and SUNY Plattsburgh.
Abbe was a recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award. He died at the age of 78 and is buried in North Cemetery in Somers. His papers are held at Boston University and the University of Iowa.