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Remembering Poet Ruth Stone

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Remembering Poet Ruth Stone

Remembrances

Remembering Poet Ruth Stone

Remembering Poet Ruth Stone

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Poet Ruth Stone died over the weekend at age 96. Melissa Block visited Stone, winner of the National Book Award, back in 2004. She has this remembrance.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

We learned over the weekend that poet Ruth Stone has died at the age of 96. Literary acclaim didn't come until late in her life. Stone was 87 when she won the National Book Award. She joked at the ceremony: I think you probably gave it to me because I'm old.

I visited Ruth Stone on her 89th birthday. She was surrounded by family at her ramshackle farmhouse in rural Goshen, Vermont.

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BLOCK: Ruth Stone's vibrant personality came through in her long hair, hennaed the color of paprika. She had high, apple cheeks and bright eyes, even though her vision was failing her. She strained to read from one of her poems, pressing her face close to the pages of huge type.

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BLOCK: As we sat on her screened porch, Ruth Stone talked with me about the physical sensation of capturing a poem, starting when she was just 6 years old.

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BLOCK: Ruth Stone wrote about her beloved Vermont; about poetry; and many times about her late husband, poet Walter Stone. He committed suicide, and haunted her poems. In one, she wrote: In my skull, night after night, I wrestle with your obstinate ghost.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

BLOCK: Ruth Stone died at home in Vermont with her family by her side, on November 19th. She was buried behind the farmhouse where we visited, and where she wrote so many of her poems; buried in an orchard where long ago, she would pick raspberries, disappearing into the thicket of bushes.

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