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Stanley Kunitz Biography

(1905–2006), Wilson Library Bulletin, Intellectual Things, Passport to the War, Selected Poems, 1928–1958

American poet, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, educated at Harvard. Kunitz worked in New York editing the Wilson Library Bulletin, and, with Howard Haycraft, four biographical dictionaries of major English and American authors. He taught at various American colleges and in 1969 became editor of the Yale Series of Younger Poets. His first book of poems, Intellectual Things (1930), was followed by Passport to the War (1944). He achieved prominence with his Selected Poems, 1928–1958 (1958; Pulitzer Prize). His later work includes The Testing Tree (1971), The Poems of Stanley Kunitz, 1928–1978 (1979), The Wellfleet Whale & Companion Poems (1983), and Next to Last Things (1985). He has also translated Andrei Voznesensky's Antiworlds (1967, with others) and Anna Akhmatova's Poems (1970). Kunitz is a formalist whose early poetry, chiefly inspired by the seventeenth-century English Metaphysical poems, is both cerebral and passionate, densely patterned, and full of intellectual conceits. His later poetry is more relaxed in manner, where his self-reflective voice ponders on his own isolation as a symptom of a widely experienced condition. Among his prose works is A Kind of Order, A Kind of Folly: Essays and Conversations (1975).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Knole Kent to Mary Lavin Biography