Stanley Kunitz Poems

Stanely Kunitz was the 10th poet laureate of the United States, named as such in the fall of 2000. Throughout his career he won the Robert Frost Medal and the National Book Award. His collections include The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden and The Wellfleet Whale and Companion Poems.

The Portrait

by Stanley Kunitz

‘The Portrait’ by Stanley Kunitz is a sad poem about the speaker’s ill-fated attempt to learn more about their deceased father.

This might not be the greatest of Kunitz's poems but its personal nature and heavy subject matter make it a powerfully poignant illustration of grief. Drawing on his own experiences to inform the speaker's yearning to fill the void of their father and their run in with the residual anger their mother still holds onto.

My mother never forgave my father

for killing himself,

especially at such an awkward time

and in a public park,

Father and Son

by Stanley Kunitz

‘Father and Son’ is a touching expression of a child’s longing for the presence of his deceased father in his life. The poem honors the author’s father and prompts readers to cherish their relationships with loved ones.

This poem conforms to Stanley Kunitz's style of poetry, which portrays the father-son relationship as a recurring theme. Its sentimental description of a child's longing for a deceased father could also be described as Stanley Kunit's most poignant work. The poem accurately reflects Kunitz's determination to address challenging emotional and psychological terrain.

Now in the suburbs and the falling light

I followed him, and now down sandy road

Whiter than bone-dust, through the sweet

Curdle of fields, where the plums

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