Good morning, poet!

When America's new poet laureate, Stanley Kunitz, wakes up in the morning, he doesn't think first about his beloved garden in Provincetown. Or about his ninety-five-year perspective on the twentieth century. No, he thinks first about being a poet. "I don't wake up as a nonagenarian," he says. "I wake up as a poet. I think that's a big difference." Mark Feeney, "The poet's progress: rejection to laureate," The Boston Globe, August 27, 2000, p. 1 .

And what does being a poet mean to Stanley Kunitz? It means, as he explains in his poem "The Layers," holding to the "principle of being." Bill Moyers, Fooling with Words (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1999), p.13 . For Kunitz, poetry is "a form of spiritual testimony"; each poem is "a blessing." Stanley Kunitz, Passing Through (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995), p. 12 . And the poet is someone who's ready "to convert the daily-ness of the life into something greater than that little life itself." Feeney, p. A30 .

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October 16, 2000

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