Tribute to Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz

Tribute to Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz  (2001) 
by James P. McGovern

Source: 2001 Congressional Record, Vol. 147, Pg. E347 (March 13, 2001)

Tribute to Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz



Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to pay special tribute to Stanley Kunitz, who was born in my hometown in Worcester, Massachusetts. Stanley Kunitz is an outstanding poet who began his career in 1930 when he wrote his first book of poems titled "Intellectual Things". Prior to this book, Stanley Kunitz studied at Harvard College where he received his BA in 1926 and his MA in 1927. It was after his years of study that he began writing his first book of poems. Unfortunately his first book was barely recognized and he did not publish his second book, "Passport to War", for another fourteen years. The Second World War interrupted his career, and after returning from the war he joined the faculty of Bennington College. Although Stanley Kunitz was years removed from poetry he persevered to eventually win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 for his first "Selected Poems".

For a writer whose working life spans thirteen Presidents, Kunitz's commitment is all the more amazing. Stanley Kunitz is realistic and simple, the furthest from extravagant, which at the time when he wrote was rare. This is evident in his opposition to the long epic poem, which was popular in American Poetry during the first half of the twentieth century. What Kunitz's work lacks in glamour it compensates for in serious and influential purpose.

The popularity of Stanley Kunitz's work is evident in his many awards and accomplishments. In addition to his Pulitzer Prize he received the Bollingen Prize, a Ford Foundation grant, the Levinson Prize, and the Shelley Memorial Award to name a few. In 2000 he was named United States Poet Laureate. Stanley Kunitz is the founder of the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts and Poets House in New York City. Stanley Kunitz has also worked as a translator, creating English versions of Russian Poems.

Mr. Speaker, please join me in honoring Mr. Kunitz for his enthusiasm and commitment to his poetry and society. He truly exemplifies that ability is never ending.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).