At the age of 95, Stanley Kunitz served as Poet Laureate (from 2000 to 2001). His poetry has been set by several American composers, including Milton Babbitt, Tom Cipullo, Ricky Ian Gordon, Louis Karchin, and Charles Wuorinen. Kunitz wrote: "Poetry is the for the sake of life."
Photo: Stanley Kunitz, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Kunitz had a difficult childhood. His father committed suicide six weeks before young Stanley's birth, leaving behind a pregnant wife and two daughters. Stanley Kunitz completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Harvard. After finishing school, Kunitz worked as a journalist for The Worcester Telegram, but he was drafted to serve in World War II, despite his stance as a conscientious objector.
After World War II, Kunitz taught at several universities in America, including Bennington College and Columbia University.
He served as Poet Laureate from 2000 to 2001. He was an inspiration and mentor to dozens of American poets in the 20th and 21st century. He was also an avid gardener.