ReadySteadyBlog

The American poet Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006) has died, this Sunday just gone. Lots of references and links over at wood s lot.


For a writer whose working life spans thirteen Presidents and perhaps as many literary zeitgeists, Kunitz's steadfastness is all the more extraordinary. No poet of stature has proved less quixotic or less profligate, and it's hard to think of many who have paced themselves so well. Few have been as resistant to the long poem and the epic conception, those bogeys that have devoured so many American poets, and perhaps only the famously fastidious Bishop showed any greater immunity to fever dreams of productivity. It would be a mistake, however, to equate this reticence with diffidence. What Kunitz's work lacks in glamour and commotion it compensates for in serious and decisive purpose. That no shelf will ever groan under Kunitz's collected poetry is a measure of his daunting ambition as well as of his scrupulous restraint.

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