Sunday, October 12, 2014

RIP Carolyn Kizer

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carolyn Kizer's death on Thursday (10/9/14) at the age of 89 is sad. But we are fortunate that she left us her wonderful poetry. The New York Times obituary sums it up well: "Ms. Kizer's poetry is known for its wit, deep intellectualism and rigorous craftsmanship; its stylist hallmarks include impeccably calibrated rhyme, near-rhyme and meter. It is unsentimental, at times unsettling, but also luminous and warm." Her poetry is also "unmistakably feminist." Her work and life, even beyond her poetry, demonstrated her commitment to equality for women. For example, in 1998 "she and Maxine Kumin resigned as chancellors of the Academy of American Poets to protest the lack of women and minority group members in its leadership." This reminds me once again of the many, many women writers and artists who have each done what she could, in big and small ways, to fight the good fight against sexism in the arts (and elsewhere). Each such action has moved the cause of equity forward, inch by inch. Brava to this great poet both for her poetry and for her work on behalf of fairness and equity. One more thing: Carolyn Kizer lived in Sonoma (45 minutes north of San Francisco), so I feel an added connection to her.
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