Stanley Jasspon Kunitz

(1905-2006 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

Stanley Jasspon Kunitz
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Stanley Jasspon Kunitz (July 29, 1905 – May 14, 2006) was an American poet. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress twice, first in 1974 and then again in 2000.


Kunitz's first collection of poems, Intellectual Things, was published in 1930. His second volume of poems, Passport to the War, was published fourteen years later; the book went largely unnoticed, although it featured some of Kunitz's best-known poems, and soon fell out of print. Kunitz's confidence was not in the best of shape when, in 1959, he had trouble finding a publisher for his third book, Selected Poems: 1928-1958. Despite this unflattering experience, the ... more »

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  • Alicia Mathias(2/18/2018 1:42:00 AM)

    Thank you for adding a selection of poems from Stanley Kunitz. I appreciate this very much. :)

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  • Alicia Mathias Alicia Mathias(1/27/2014 12:11:00 AM)

    Stanley Kunitz is one of my very favorite poets of all-time! :) How can I add his poems to this site? I don't see any of him poems on here and he deserves to be read and loved by as many people as possible. He's amazing. Thank you!

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Best Poem of Stanley Jasspon Kunitz

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its ...

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