Poems by Stanley Kunitz

The Portrait

The Layers

Touch me





Stanley Kunitz


A living legend and a giant of American letters, Stanley Kunitz has published twelve books of poetry in the last seventy years. He served as the Poet Laureate of the United States for 2000 and 2001. At the age of ninety-six, Kunitz is one of America’s most important and lasting voices. He lives in New York City and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he tends his famous garden.

Founder of both the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and Poets House in New York City, Kunitz’ myriad honors include the Pulitzer Prize (1959, for Selected Poems: 1928-1958), the Bollingen Prize (1987), the National Medal of Arts (1993), and the National Book Award (1995, for Passing Through: Later Poems, New and Selected).

Born in 1905 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Kunitz graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1926, and he received his master’s degree from Harvard in 1927. His first book, Intellectual Things, was published by Doubleday in 1930; his second book, Passport to the War, came out over a decade later in 1944. Besides his many books of poetry, he has written essays, edited reference books for H.W.Wilson, and translated Voznesensky, Akhmatova, and others.

Kunitz has astonished the literary world by getting only better with age. Carolyn Forché calls him “a living treasure.” Of Kunitz’ later poems, David Barber of The Atlantic Monthly writes, “They are, in all their outward simplicity and inward mystery, perhaps the closest that American poetry has come in our time to achieving and urgency and aura that deserve—even demand—to be called visionary.”


Poetry Center Reading:

Spring 2002