Tag Archives: Stanely Kunitz

The Poets Laureate Anthology

Hardcover: 762 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition, edition (October 4, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0393061817

ISBN-13: 978-0393061819

Review by: g emil reutter

Released in 2010 this anthology covers seventy five years of American Laureates from Auslander to Merwin. The value of the anthology is not only a historic look back at who has served in the office but the development and growth of poetry in the United States. Of specific note are each Laureates view of the office, concise biographies and the selection of poems by editor Elizabeth Hun Schmidt.

The office has no specific job description. Auslander viewed the laureates position as, “… a task of building in our national library for the People of the United States a permanent sanctuary for the manuscripts and memorabilia of the poets of our tongue”.  He also launched the first recorded readings, “The Poet in a Democracy”, which succeeding laureates built upon the foundation he created. Frost attempted to use the position as a bully pulpit for the arts while in term. Pinsky and Ryan reached out across America to bring poetry to the people and inspire those who love the art.  William Carlos Williams and Robert Hayden survived political attacks although Williams never served in office.

Stanley Kunitz said, “ If we want to know what it felt like to be alive at any given moment in the long odyssey of the race, it is to poetry we must turn. The moment is dear to us, precisely because it is so fugitive, and it is somewhat of a paradox that poets should spend a lifetime hunting for the magic that will make the moment stay. Art is that chalice into which we pour the wine of transcendence. What is imagination but a reflection of our yearning to belong to eternity as well as to time.”

The Poets Laureate Anthology is a robust collection capturing precise moments in time reflecting not just the past but the future. The anthology is a must read for lovers of poetry and should be on the shelves of poets everywhere.

You can find The Poets Laureate Anthology in bookstores or on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Laureate-Anthology-Elizabeth-Schmidt/dp/0393061817

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g emil reutter is a Philadelphia Poet

Passing Through- The Later Poems by Stanley Kunitz

Charles Loudon** – The Fox Chase Review 

           I had the opportunity this past week to revisit Passing Through – The Later Poems by Stanley Kunitz.  He leads us into this collection with Instead of a Forward with a commentary on twentieth century poetry that still applies today:

“It disturbs me that twentieth century American poets seem largely reconciled to being relegated to the classroom—practically the only habitat in which most of us are conditioned to feel secure. It would be healthier if we could locate ourselves in the thick of life, at every intersection where values and meanings cross, caught in the dangerous traffic between self and universe.”

            Kunitz the ultimate academic recognized the need to inject energy into poetry then as today, to bring poetry out of the secure classroom environment to, “the dangerous traffic between self and universe”. 

From River Road *:

That year of the cloud, when my marriage failed,/ I slept in a chair, by the flagstone hearth,/ fighting my sleep,/ and one night saw a Hessian Solider/ stand at attention there in full/ regalia, till his head broke into flames. My only other callers were the FBI/ sent to investigate me as a Russian spy/ by patriotic neighbors on the river road;/ and flying squirrels parachuting from the elms/ who squeaked in rodent heat between the walls/ and upstairs rumbled at their nutty games.  

From The Knot:

I’ve tried to seal it in,/ that cross-grained knot/ on the opposite wall,/ scored in the lintel of my door,/ but it keeps bleeding through./ into the world we share. Mornings when I wake,/ curled in my web,/ I hear it come/ with a rush of resin/ out of the trauma of its lopping off. 

            Kunitz the master symbolist draws the reader into his poetry permitting the reader the opportunity to live and breathe the poems as Kunitz did when crafting them. 

From The Lincoln Relics:

Cold-eyed, in Naples once,/ while the congregation swooned,/ I watched the liquefaction/ of a vial of precious blood,/ and wondered only/ how the trick was done. Saint’s bone are only bones/ to me, but here,/ where the stage is set/ without a trace of gore,/ these relics on display–/ watchfob and ivory pocket knife, / a handkerchief of Irish linen,/ a button severed from his sleeve– 

Through the years, Stanely Kunitz has remained one of my favorite poets. I encourage lovers of poetry and poets to read Kunitz’s work. There is much to be learned, much to be enjoyed. Kunitz passed away at the age of 100 in 2006. His life spanned two centuries, influencing many poets of the last century and lives on to influence poets of the new century. 

Passing Through- The Later Poems by Stanley Kunitz can be found at this link:

Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected by Stanley Kunitz

*River Road is located in Bucks County. The area Kunitz writes of is located between Washington Crossing State Park and New Hope Pa.

 **Charles Loudon lives on Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia, he is not sure if he lives in Fox Chase or Burholme depending on who he speaks with. He is frequent visitor to the Ryerss Library