Poets of Cambridge, U.S.A.
Other Poets
Henry Adams
John Quincy Adams
James Agee
Conrad Aiken
Bronson Alcott
Thomas Bailey Aldrich
William Alfred
Washington Allston
Katherine Lee Bates
Elizabeth Bishop
Anne Bradstreet
John Malcom Brinnin
Witter Bynner
William Ellery Channing II
John Ciardi
Robert Creeley
Countee Cullen
E.E. Cummings
John Dos Passos
W.E.B Dubois
Richard Eberhart
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Frost
Angelina Weld Grimke
Robert Hillyer
John Holmes
O.W. Holmes
Julia Ward Howe
Sarah Orne Jewett
X. J. Kennedy
Maxine Kumin
Stanley Kunitz
H.W. Longfellow
Amy Lowell
Robert Lowell
Archibald Macleish
Herman Melville
Howard Nemerov
Urian Oakes
Charles Olson
John Reed
George Santayana
May Sarton
Delmore Schwartz
Alan Seeger
Anne Sexton
L.E. Sissman
Wallace Stevens
Edward Taylor
Henry David Thoreau
Frederick Tuckerman
John Updike
Jones Very

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Stanley Kunitz

1905 - 2006

Stanley Kunitz
Stanley Kunitz

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1905, America's tenth poet laureate was the sone of an immigrant from Lithuania who committed suicide in a public park a few weeks before his son's birth, after his dress-making business was bankrupt. His mother began a dry-goods shop. His beloved step-father died when Stanley was fourteen.

At the classical High School education in Worcester, Kunitz's love of poetry (by Keats, Wordsworth, and William Blake) began. Then at Harvard he learned that despite his honors at graduation, he discovered that he would not be able to teach the Anglo-Saxon students because he was Jewish.

The first Kunitz book of poems, Intellectual Things, 1930, was ignored, followed fourteen years later by Passport to War. However, after another fourteen years, his Selected Poems won the Pulitzer Pirze.

Avoiding teaching, Kunitz worked as an editor, Especially co-editing a series of biographical reference books for The H.W. Wilson Company. In 1945 Bennington College invited him to begin teaching. A variety of other teaching posts followed, especially at Columbia University's graduate writing program, where he had ample time to write poems. Many awards followed plus serving as consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress.

Kunitz lived in Greenwich Village, with Summers in Provincetown, where his large terraced garden faced the bay. An editorial in The Boston Globe celebrated "Stanley Kunitz at 100."

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.
From American Poetry: The Twentieth Century. New York: The Library of America, 2000.
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