Stanley, I love your work…

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It’s the birthday of poet Stanley Kunitz , born in Worcester, Massachusetts (1905). His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father committed suicide in a public park before Kunitz was born and his mother, Yetta, erased all traces of Stanley’s father from the house and refused to speak about him. She opened up a dry-goods store and sewed clothes in the back room, working overtime to pay off the debts that her husband had left behind, even though legally she was not obligated to pay them.
One thing his mother did not destroy were the books his father had left behind, books by Tolstoy and Dickens. One of Kunitz’s favorite books was the dictionary. He said:
“I used to sit in that green Morris chair and open the heavy dictionary on my lap, and find a new word every day. It was a big word, a word like eleemosynary or phantasmagoria — some word that, on the tongue, sounded great to me, and I would go out into the fields and I would shout those words, because it was so important that they sounded so great to me. And then eventually I began incorporating them into verses, into poems. But certainly my thought in the beginning was that there was so much joy playing with language that I couldn’t consider living without it.”
His first job as a boy was riding his horse down the streets of Worcester and lighting the gas lamps at night. He became a reporter for the Worcester Telegram, went to Harvard, and stayed for his master’s degree. He wanted to pursue his Ph.D., but the head of the English department at Harvard told him that Anglo-Saxon students would resent being taught by a Jew.
So he moved to a big farm in Connecticut, and worked as a reporter and farmer. He sold fresh herbs to markets in Hartford. Kunitz was drafted into World War II, and when he came back he was offered a teaching position at Bennington College. In 1949 the college tried to expel one of his students — Groucho Marx’s daughter Miriam — right before her graduation because she had violated a curfew. Kunitz helped organize a protest of the decision and the president of Bennington showed up at his house and told him to stop immediately. Kunitz took the plant that he was potting and threw it in the president’s face, then quit.
He published two books, but both were barely noticed. He was so unknown that his third book, Selected Poems (1958), was rejected by eight publishers — three of them refused to even read it. When it was finally published it won the Pulitzer Prize. When someone asked W.H. Auden why nobody knew about Stanley Kunitz, Auden said: “It’s strange, but give him time. A hundred years or so. He’s a patient man.”
It was more than 10 years before he published his next book, The Testing Tree (1971), and slowly but surely, people began to take notice. He was appointed the poet laureate when he was 95 years old. He died at the age of 100.
He said, “It is out of the dailiness of life that one is driven into the deepest recesses of the self.”
 

reviewer of novels

EllaAnn,KevanAtteberry'sgranddaughter

I am a new and novel work of art. Refrain from reviewing me with rage !

Nov 11,2019
It’s the birthday of a writer who was also a veteran, Kurt Vonnegut, born in Indianapolis (1922). He joined the Army, and in December of 1944, he was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was imprisoned in a slaughterhouse in Dresden. On the night of February 13, 1945, British and American bombers attacked Dresden, igniting a firestorm that killed almost all the city’s inhabitants in two hours. Vonnegut and his fellow prisoners only survived because they slept in a meat locker three stories below the ground.
He spent the next two decades writing science fiction, but he knew he wanted to write about his experiences in Dresden, and finally did in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), about a man named Billy Pilgrim who believes that he experiences the events of his life out of order, including his service during World War II, the firebombing of Dresden, and his kidnapping by aliens. He decides there is no such thing as time, and everything has already happened, so there’s really nothing to worry about.
Kurt Vonnegut, also wrote Cat’s Cradle (1963), Breakfast of Champions (1973), and many other books. He once said: “Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”

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