Poet Stanley Kunitz at 100

Stanley Kunitz

hide captionStanley Kunitz is considered by many to be America's greatest living poet.

Ted Rosenberg

Over his lifetime, poet Stanley Kunitz has received a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award and the National Medal of the Arts. He has also served as the nation's poet laureate... twice. As Kunitz turns 100, independent producer Joe Richman of Radio Diaries visits the poet in Provincetown, Mass.

About Stanley Kunitz

1905: Born in Worcester, Mass.

1927: Master's in English from Harvard University

1930: Intellectual Things, his first book of poems, published

1959: Pulitzer Prize for Selected Poems, 1928-1958

1974-1976: Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a precursor to the Poet Laureate position)

1993: National Medal of the Arts

1995: National Book Award for Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected

2000-2001: U.S. Poet Laureate

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Kunitz reads from his poem, "The Long Boat."

The Long Boat

When his boat snapped loose

from its mooring, under

the screaking of the gulls,

he tried at first to wave

to his dear ones on shore,

but in the rolling fog

they had already lost their faces.

Too tired even to choose

between jumping and calling,

somehow he felt absolved and free

of his burdens, those mottoes

stamped on his name-tag:

conscience, ambition, and all

that caring.

He was content to lie down

with the family ghosts

in the slop of his cradle,

buffeted by the storm,

endlessly drifting.

Peace! Peace!

To be rocked by the Infinite!

As if it didn't matter

which way was home;

as if he didn't know

he loved the earth so much

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he wanted to stay forever.

From The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden by Stanley Kunitz with Genine Lentine, W.W. Norton & Co., 2005.


Books Featured In This Story

Wild Braid
Wild Braid

A Poet Reflects On A Century In The Garden

by Stanley Kunitz, Genine Lentine and Marnie Crawford Samuelson

Hardcover, 144 pages | purchase

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Purchase Featured Books

  • Wild Braid
  • A Poet Reflects On A Century In The Garden
  • Stanley Kunitz, Genine Lentine, et al
The Collected Poems
The Collected Poems

by Stanley Kunitz

Hardcover, 285 pages | purchase

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Purchase Featured Books

  • The Collected Poems
  • Stanley Kunitz

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