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.
Mr. Kunitz shunned shallow confession in his art.
“Poetry is ultimately mythology, the telling of stories of the soul,”
“The old myths, the old gods, the old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our minds, waiting for our call. We have need of them, for in their sum they epitomize the wisdom and experience of the race.”
Did You Know?..
Kunitz’s father commited suicide six weeks before his birth, this haunted Kunitz.
In a poem decisive in his development, “Father and Son” (in the 1944 collection), he wrote:
At the water’s edge, where the smothering ferns lifted
Their arms, “Father!” I cried, “Return! You know
The way. . . .
Your son, whirling between two wars,
In the Gemara of your gentleness,
For I would be a child to those who mourn
And brother to the foundlings of the field
And friend of innocence and all bright eyes.
O teach me how to work and keep me kind.”
But the final two lines silence the outcry:
Among the turtles and the lilies he turned to me
The white ignorant hollow of his face.