Stanley Kunitz was born 29 July 1905, and died 14 May 2006.
- The universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.
- The poem comes in the form of a blessing – like rapture breaking on the mind, as I tried to phrase it in my youth. Through the years I have found this gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and absolutely unpredictable. Does one live, therefore, for the sake of poetry? No, the reverse is true: poetry is for the sake of the life.
- What makes the engine go? Desire, desire, desire.
- Anybody who remains a poet throughout a lifetime, who is still a poet let us say at sixty, has a terrible will to survive… He can’t excuse himself by saying he has written everything he has to write. That’s a damn lie. He’s swamped with material, it’s overwhelming.
- Perhaps the way to cope with the adversary is to confront him in ourselves. We have to fight for our little bit of health. We have to make our living and dying important again. And the living and dying of others. Isn’t that what poetry is about?
- It always haunts me that human beings were accumulating experience and knowledge in their bodies before they had a language. That’s where our oldest wisdom is. The language of the imagination is a body language. That’s why poetry is resistant to abstractions.
- Poetry says, ‘You are not alone in the world’. All your fears, anxieties, hopes, despairs are the common property of the race.’
- The artist in the modern world is probably the only person, with a handful of exceptions, who keeps alive that sense of the sharing of his life with others. When he watches that leaf fall, it’s falling for you.
- End with an image and don’t explain.
Stanley Kunitz was an American poet. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress twice, first in 1974 and then again in 2000. His poetry is available in The Collected Poems.
Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar