Duncan, Robert (Edward) (1919–1988) By Gifford, James
Robert Duncan was an American poet, dramatist, and critic central to the San Francisco Renaissance and Black Mountain College. He was born Edward Howard Duncan Jr., renamed Robert Edward Symmes by his Theosophist adoptive parents. He published as Robert Symmes in his early works and finally combined his names to form Robert Duncan in 1941 after his military discharge. After seven years in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York, Duncan returned to California in 1945 and remained in the Bay Area until his death in 1988 of kidney disease.