Dr. Daniel G. Hoffman, the Felix E. Schelling Professor of English Emeritus and the 22nd consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress (now poet laureate), died on March 30, 2013, at the age of 89 at the Quadrangle in Haverford, PA.
Born in New York City in 1923, Dr. Hoffman served as a technical writer and editor of an aeronautical research journal for the US Army Air Corps during World War II, before earning his BA (1947), MA (1949) and PhD (1956) from Columbia University.
Dr. Hoffman began his academic career teaching at Columbia where he was a lecturer (1947-48) and then an instructor (1952-56). He lectured at Rutgers University (1948-50), was an instructor at Temple University (1950-51), was a visiting professor at the University of Dijon, France (1956-57) and then became an assistant professor at Swarthmore College (1957). He remained at Swarthmore until 1966, becoming a full professor.
He came to Penn in 1966, where he taught for 26 years, heading the Writing Program and teaching seminars on modern poets and American literature. In 1978 he was named poet-in-residence and director of the Writing Program. Dr. Hoffman retired as the Felix E. Schelling Professor Emeritus in 1993 but continued to attend programs at Kelly Writers House. "Those of us whose lives he touched abundantly, and there were many of us, will sorely miss him. He was a generous mentor and counselor, sincerely interested in our work, commiserating with us when we stumbled, full of great pleasure when we prospered, and over the years became a friend whose love of others was a great testament to his love of life," said Greg Djanikian, director of the Creative Writing Program in the department of English.
In 1954 his book of poems An Armada of Thirty Whales (1954) was chosen by W.H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He went on to publish a many works including Hang-Gliding from Helicon: New and Selected Poems, 1948-1988, [Paterson Poetry Prize]; Beyond Silence: Selected Shorter Poems, 1948-2003; Makes You Stop and Think: Sonnets (2005); and Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe (1971), which was nominated for a National Book Award. He also translated Italian and Hungarian poems and won the Memorial Medal of the Maygar P.E.N. for his translations of contemporary Hungarian poetry.
In the early 1970s he began an epic poem of the life of William Penn. The work, titled Brotherly Love, (1981), is composed of 61 poems on Penn and his achievements. His 13th book of verse The Whole Nine Yards: Longer Poems (2009) received the L.E. Phillabaum Poetry Award by its publisher L.S.U. Press. Dr. Hoffman was also a contributing editor to the Drexel journal Per Contra, which in mid-March published a 33-essay celebration of him for his 90th birthday.
Dr. Hoffman was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and served as poet-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He won the Hazlett Memorial Award, the Sewanee Review's Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry and the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Arthur Rense Poetry Prize "for an exceptional poet." In addition, he was awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
He is survived by his daughter, Kate Siddiqi; and his son,