A poet till the very end.
Perhaps the willful absence of his father disposed Kunitz to be a paternal figure to young poets. In my generation, he helped foster Louise Glück, Robert Hass, Michael Ryan, and Olga Broumas, to name only a few. Younger poets who predeceased him, including Robert Lowell and Allen Ginsberg, brought him books and manuscripts. In his devotion to the urgent, high calling of the poet, as embodied by Blake, Hopkins, Keats, he was a fiery son as well as a steady elder.
Former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky is Slate's poetry editor. His Selected Poems is now available.
Photograph of Stanley Kunitz by Christopher Felver/Corbis. Poems reprinted from The Collected Poems, by Stanley Kunitz. Copyright 2000 by Stanley Kunitz. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. They may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.