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Joaquin Miller
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Poet
    (September 8, 1837-February 17, 1913)
    Born in Fulton County, Indiana
    Birth name was Cincinnatus Hiner Miller
    Wrote ‘Songs of the Sierra’ (1871), ‘Memorie and Rime’ (1884) and ‘Light: A Narrative Poem’ (1907)
    Nicknamed ‘the Poet of the Sierras’ and ‘the Byron of the Rockies’
    He participated in William Walker’s campaign to conquer Nicaragua.
    He was arrested for stealing a horse (1859).
    He abandoned his wife, leaving the note, ‘Literary men never get along well with their wives. Lord Byron separated from his wife and some of my friends think I am a second Lord Byron. Farewell!’
    He heavily romanticized his background, prompting Ambrose Bierce to call him ‘the greatest liar this country ever produced. He cannot or will not tell the truth.’
    He wrote a poem rhyming ‘Goethe’ with ‘teeth.’
    His best poems convey a sense of the majesty of the American West.
    His flamboyant behavior and Western costume made him a favorite of the literati – especially the pre-Raphaelites – during his visit to England (1871).
    He lost two toes to frostbite while reporting on the Yukon gold rush (1897).
    His home in Oakland, California, was designated a National Historic Landmark (1962).

Credit: C. Fishel


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