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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: Linda Pastan

We mourn the passing of Linda Pastan, who died on Jan. 30 at her home in Chevy Chase, Md. She was 90.

Linda, whose work was often compared to Emily Dickinson, visited the NYS Writers Institute in 2006 for a program with poet Gerald Stern. See web page from our archives.

The Hudson Review called Pastan, ". . .a poet of a hundred small delights, celebrations, responses, satisfactions, pleasures." The Washington Post has called her, "one of the real treasures in poetry of our time."

From the obituary published in the New York Times on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023:

"The range of her poetry was vast. A 1978 collection was called The Five Stages of Grief. On the other end of the spectrum was A Dog Runs Through It (2018), poems that involved the various dogs, present and past, in her life.

“I knew I had written a number of poems about dogs over the years,” she wrote in the preface, “but I was surprised when looking through my work to see how many dogs had sneaked onto a page about something else entirely.”

The collection was dedicated to her dog of the moment, Toby, a rescue mini-poodle mix." Read more.

Remembering Frost at Kennedy’s Inauguration by Linda Pastan

Even the flags seemed frozen to their poles, and the men stamping their well-shod feet resembled an army of overcoats.

But we were young and fueled by hope, our ardor burned away the cold. We were the president’s, and briefly the president would be ours.

The old poet stumbled over his own indelible words, his breath a wreath around his face: a kind of prophecy.

Source: Queen of a Rainy Country (W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 2006)


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