A fresh look at the life and work of modernist poet H.D.

Table of contents

Part One: Early Years and First Loves (1886-1913)
Chapter 1: Bethlehem Years, 1886-1895
Chapter 2: The Years in Upper Darby, PA, 1896-1909
Chapter 3: The Frances Gregg Period, 1910-1913
Part Two: Imagism, World War One, and Personal Loss, 1913-1918
Chapter 4: H.D., Imagism, the Onset of War and a Still Birth, 1913-1915
Chapter 5: Changing Partners in the “War Tornado,” 1916-1918
Part Three: New Family and New Forms of Art, 1918-1931
Chapter 6: The “Mysteries of Vision” and the Healing Power of Art, 1918-1920
Chapter 7: Travels and a New Menage, 1920-1923
Chapter 8: More Prose, a New Lover, and an Introduction to Avant-Garde Film, 1924-1927
Chapter 9: More Film, Endings and Beginnings, 1928-1931
Part Four: Psychoanalysis and Renewal, 1932-1939
Chapter 10: Travels and Analysis with Freud, 1932-1934
Chapter 11: Gradual Regenerations and the Onset of War, 1935-1939
Part Five: London, World War Two and its Aftermath, 1939-1954
Chapter 12: World War Two and the War Trilogy, 1939-1945
Chapter 13: Breakdown, Switzerland, and Prose Fiction, 1946-1950
Chapter 14: Becoming a Grandmother and the Creation of Helen in Egypt, 1951-1954
Part Six: A New Love before Facing Death, 1955-1961
Chapter 15: Heydt, An Accident, Occult Research, and More Poetry, 1955-1958
Chapter 16: More Poetry, Recognition, and a Fatal Illness, 1959-1961


Winged Words puts the work of H.D., including her poetry, translations, and prose, in the context of her life. Because the majority of H.D.’s oeuvre was unpublished until recently, author Donna Hollenberg, who’s written three previous books about H.D., is able to account for and analyze significantly more of H.D.’s work than previous biographers.

H.D.’s friends and lovers were a veritable Who’s Who of Modernism, and Hollenberg gives us a glimpse into H.D.’s relationships with them.  With rich detail, the biography follows H.D. from her early years in America with her family, to her later years in England during both world wars, to Switzerland, which would eventually become H.D.’s home base.  It explores her love affairs with both men and women; her long friendship with Bryher; the birth of her daughter, Perdita, and her imaginative bond with her; and her marriage to (and later divorce from) fellow poet Richard Aldington. Additionally, the book includes scenes from her relationships with Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and D.H. Lawrence; H.D.’s fascination with spiritualism and the occult; and H.D.’s psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud. The first new biography of H.D. to be published in over four decades, Winged Words is a must-read resource for anyone conducting research on H.D.

Donna Krolik Hollenberg is Professor Emerita at the University of Connecticut.


“In her excellent biography of H.D.—the first in nearly forty years—Hollenberg offers scholars a much-needed narrative of H.D.’s life that is deliberate, judicious, and comprehensive. Drawing upon existing accounts and fresh archival research, she treats well-examined and less familiar episodes with clarity and new detail, giving rich contexts for H.D.’s writing. She gives thoughtful accounts of H.D.’s relationships, showing how they altered and yet persisted, threaded within her memory and writing. Importantly, H.D.’s distinctive personality emerges clearly from these pages. This is an admirable achievement of research and synthesis.”
—Eileen Gregory, University of Dallas

- Eileen Gregory, University of Dallas

“Respected biographer and esteemed feminist scholar of modernist and postmodernist American poetry, Donna Hollenberg has written a biography of H.D. that will help scholars, critics, and readers of poetry to understand this great poet’s life as a woman of letters in her time. Hollenberg quietly corrects the inaccuracies in earlier biographies, fills in significant gaps in our knowledge of H.D.’s life, and is judicious in her presentation and representation of H.D. This biography will define this major woman poet for a generation.”
—Cynthia Hogue, Arizona State University

- Cynthia Hogue, Arizona State University

“Hollenberg gathers together in one place a fine-grained prose timeline presenting the facts about where H.D. was, who she was with, what she was reading, and what was going on during every period of her remarkable life. This is an invaluable resource to scholarship as a rich source of facts and insights into H.D. and her work.”
—Matte Robinson, St. Thomas University

- Matte Robinson, St. Thomas University