See his A Kind of Order, A Kind of Folly: Essays and Conversations (1975) and (with G. Lentine) Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden (2005); S. Moss, ed, Interviews and Encounters with Stanley Kunitz (1993); biography by M. Henault (1980); G. Orr, Stanley Kunitz: An Introduction to the Poetry (1985).
(born July 29, 1905, Worcester, Mass., U.S.—died May 14, 2006, New York, N.Y.) U.S. poet. He worked as an editor while contributing verse to magazines; much of it was collected in volumes such as Selected Poems 1928–1958 (1958, Pulitzer Prize). With The Testing-Tree (1971), he began to write shorter, looser, more emotional poetry. Among his later collections, noted for their subtle craftsmanship and treatment of complex themes, are The Coat Without a Seam (1974), The Lincoln Relics (1978), Next-to-Last Things (1985), and Passing Through (1995). He was also U.S. poet laureate twice (1974–76, 2000–01).
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Kunitz graduated summa cum laude in 1926 from Harvard College and earned a master's degree in English from Harvard the following year. After Harvard, he worked as a reporter for The Worcester Telegram, and as editor for the H.W. Wilson Company in New York City until he was drafted in 1943. As a conscientious objector, Kunitz served as a noncombatant in the US Army during World War II, and was discharged with the rank of staff sergeant. After the war, he began a teaching career at Bennington College, New York State Teachers College in Potsdam, New York, New School for Social Research, University of Washington, Queens College, Vassar, Brandeis, Yale, Rutgers, and a 22-year stint at Columbia University.
At Wilson Company, Kunitz served as editor of the Wilson Library Bulletin and as co-editor for Twentieth Century Authors, among other reference works. In 1931, as Dilly Tante, he edited Living Authors, a Book of Biographies. His poems began to appear in Poetry, Commonweal, The New Republic, The Nation, and The Dial.
Kunitz's poetry has won praise from all circles as being profound and well written. He continued to write and publish as late as 2005, at the age of 100. Many believe his poetry's symbolism is influenced significantly by the work of Carl Jung. Kunitz was an influence on many 20th century poets, including James Wright, Mark Doty, Louise Glück, and Carolyn Kizer.
His marriages to poet Helen Pearce and actress Eleanor Evans ended in divorce. His third wife, artist Elise Asher, died in 2004. Kunitz divided his time between New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts for most of his life. He enjoyed gardening and maintained one of the most impressive seaside gardens in Provincetown. He was a founder of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he was a mainstay of the literary community, and of Poets House in Manhattan. He died in 2006 at his home in Manhattan. He had previously come close to death, and reflected on the experience in his last book, a collection of essays, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden.
He was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award in Sherborn, MA in October 1998.
Other writing and interviews:
As editor, translator, or co-translator: