Stanley Kunitz Poems

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Stanley Kunitz
Stanley Jasspon Kunitz (July 29, 1905 May 14, 2006) was a noted American poet who served two years (19741976) as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a precursor to the modern Poet Laureate program), and served another year as United States Poet Laureate in 2000. Stanley Kunitz was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1905. He was raised by his Lithuanian-Jewish mother, Yetta Helen Jasspon, and stepfather, Mark Dine, who died when Kunitz was 14. His father, Solomon Z. Kunitz, a dressmaker, committed suicide six weeks before Kunitz was born. 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. He served in the US Army during World War II. As a conscientious objector, Kunitz served as a noncombatant 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.

king of the river
If the water were clear enough,
if the water were still,
but the water is not clear,
... [read poem]
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