Carolyn Kizer (December 10, 1924 - October 09, 2014)
Born: 10th December, 1924
Died: 9th October, 2014
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: Spokane, Washington, Sonoma, California
Notable works: "Yin: New Poems"

Carolyn Kizer Facts


Carolyn Kizer, in full Carolyn Ashley Kizer, (born December 10, 1924, Spokane, Washington, U.S.--died October 9, 2014, Sonoma, California), American poet whose biting satirical work reflects her involvement in feminist and human rights activities. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1985 for her collection Yin: New Poems (1984).

After attending Sarah Lawrence College (B.A., 1945), Kizer did graduate work at Columbia University (1945-46) and at the University of Washington (1946-47). In 1959 she cofounded Poetry Northwest, which she also edited from 1959 to 1965. After serving in Pakistan as literary specialist for the U.S. State Department (1964-65), she became the first director of literary programs for the National Endowment for the Arts (1966-70). Kizer lectured, taught, or was poet in residence at several universities, including the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and Stanford, Princeton, and Columbia universities.

Kizer's published collections included Poems (1959), The Ungrateful Garden (1961), Knock upon Silence (1965), Midnight Was My Cry (1971), Mermaids in the Basement: Poems for Women (1984), The Nearness of You (1986), and Harping On: Poems 1985-1995 (1996). She also wrote Proses: On Poems and Poets (1993), Picking and Choosing (1995), and other prose pieces and edited the collection 100 Great Poems by Women (1995). Noted for her elegance and rigour, Kizer wrote with humour of her involvement with feminism and in social action. "Pro Femina," one of her best-known poems, is a satiric work about women writers. She was the recipient (1988) of the Frost Medal, awarded by the Poetry Society of America.

Top 11 Carolyn Kizer quotes

I began writing poems when I was about eight, with a heavy assist from my mother. She read me Arthur Waley's translations and Whitman and Robinson Jeffers, who have been lifelong influences on me. My father read Keats to me, and then he read more Keats while I was lying on the sofa struggling with asthma.
I wrote poetry off and on in high school, when I could manage to get out of gym classes and sports - using my allergies as an excuse - and climb the hill behind school till I found a nice place to settle down with a notebook and look at Spokane spread out below.
High school
As I remember, the first real poem I wrote was about the wheat fields between Spokane and Pullman, to the south.
I remember
I didn't learn much about writing at Sarah Lawrence, but I learned a lot about the sources of poems - dreams, myth, history - from the really great teachers, Joseph Campbell, Charles Trinkhaus, Bert Loewenberg, and a young Australian anthropologist named Harry Hawthorne.
Great teachers
I've been enormously fortunate. People say, 'How do you feel about your reputation?' My real belief is that I have exactly the reputation I deserve... on the whole, I feel comfortable with myself.
I feel
People say
I tell people I never got to hear Dylan Thomas read because my husband wouldn't let me, because he thought it would be a sort of bad influence. People say, 'And you didn't go?' They're so surprised because the me they know would have gone. And I say I was very much a 'yes, dear' wife.
Dylan thomas
I used to get so many letters from students about the ending of 'Pro Femina.' So I had a stamp made that said 'irony, irony, irony' to put on a postcard and mail it back.
I was raised to be a girl Michelangelo.
I was raised
I discovered it was easier to carry around a pen than a piano.
Environmental concerns and feminism are locked together. Generally, women have closer connections to the organic nature of our lives.
Our lives
No matter how brief an encounter you have with anybody, you both change.

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