Bronwyn's Library Blog

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pulitzer prize winner/poet laureat, Stanley Kunitz dies

NEW YORK - Stanley Kunitz, a former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner whose expressive verse, social commitment and generosity to young writers spanned three-quarters of a century, has died.

He was 100....

He served a single one-year term as U.S. poet laureate and was also the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the precursor to poet laureate, from 1974 to 1976.

His poems included tributes to nature and wildlife, such as "The Snakes of September," the traumatic memories of "The Portrait," in which he recalled his father's suicide, and the spiritual journey of "The Long Boat," with his wish "To be rocked by the Infinite!/as if it didn't matter which way was home."

His early work was more formal, more dependent on rhyme and meter, but he anticipated his own evolution with the poem "Change," with its promise of "Becoming, never being."

Over time, his verse simplified, crystalized, with Kunitz once observing that he had learned to "strip the water out of my poems."

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