May 252015

Elizabeth Bartlett (1911-1994) was a poet and writer who lived for a time in the Lake Chapala area with her artist-author husband Paul Alexander Bartlett and son Steven James Bartlett in the early 1950s. Later, in the 1970s, the family revisited the Chapala area several times from their then home in Comala, Colima. Bartlett gave several poetry readings in the Chapala area, though the precise dates and locations are unclear.

In addition to her poetry, Bartlett is remembered as an author of fiction, essays, reviews, translations, and as an editor. She was also founder of the international non-profit organization Literary Olympics, Inc.

Elizabeth Bartlett, circa 1973. Photograph courtesy of Steven James Bartlett, literary executor for Elizabeth Bartlett.

Elizabeth Bartlett, circa 1973. Photograph courtesy of Steven James Bartlett, literary executor for Elizabeth Bartlett.

Eizabeth Roberta Bartlett (née Winters) was born in New York City in 1911. She was awarded her degree from Teachers’ College in 1931 and then undertook  postgraduate studies at Columbia University (1938-40), before dedicating herself to writing and teaching.

She first met her husband in Mexico in 1941, and the couple married in Sayula (Jalisco) in 1943. Their son Steven was born in Mexico City two years later. The family divided their time between the USA and Mexico. In Mexico, the family lived in numerous different states while Paul Bartlett was researching his book on Mexican haciendas.

Elizabeth Bartlett had a distinguished teaching career, including spells at Southern Methodist University (1947–49), San Jose State University (1960–61), the University of California at Santa Barbara (1961–64), San Diego State University (1979–81), and the University of San Diego (1981–82). She was a visiting poet at universities in Canada, California, Florida, and Texas, and Poetry Editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics and for Crosscurrents.

Bartlett was founder and president of the international non-profit organization, Literary Olympics, Inc., which was established to reintroduce a cultural component to the Olympic Games. In relation to this, Bartlett edited three international multi-language anthologies to coincide with the Olympics, beginning in 1984. A fourth volume was published in 1997 in memory of Bartlett, to honor her for her work with the Literary Olympics, and to commemorate the 1996 Olympic Games.

Bartlett’s writing has been published in numerous journals, anthologies and books of collected poetry, including Poems of Yes and No (1952), It Takes Practice Not to Die (1964), Address in Time (1979), Memory is No Stranger (1981), The Gemini Poems (1984), Candles (1988), and Around the Clock (1989).


Sincere thanks to Steven Bartlett for sharing his memories of the family’s time in Mexico.

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.

  One Response to “Poet and writer Elizabeth Bartlett (1911-1994)”

  1. I never realized she was so strongly tied to Mexico. Great summary and leaves one wanting to know more about her life in Mexico during the war years.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.