Kunitz, Stanley Jasspon

Kunitz, Stanley Jasspon kyo͞oˈnĭts [key], 1905–2006, American poet, teacher, and editor, b. Worcester, Mass. He graduated from Harvard (B.A., 1926; M.A., 1927), worked as a journalist and editor, and taught poetry at many colleges and universities, notably Columbia (1967–85). Influenced by Carl Jung, his poetry, which began as complex and metaphysical and grew simpler and more intense over the years, is filled with recurring myths, themes, and symbols. It is collected in such volumes as Intellectual Things (1930), Selected Poems, 1928–1958 (1958; Pulitzer Prize), The Testing Tree (1971), The Poems of Stanley Kunitz: 1928–1978 (1979), The Wellfleet Whale and Companion Poems (1983), Next-to-Last Things (1985), and Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected (1995; National Book Award). Kunitz was also the editor (with Howard Haycraft) of such reference books as Twentieth Century Authors (1942), and British Authors before 1800 (1952) and translated works by several Russian poets. He held the post of consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress (1974–76), an office that was the predecessor of the poet laureate, and was U.S. poet laureate (2000–2001). His Collected Poems was published in 2000.

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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies