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Encyclopedia > Mona Van Duyn

Mona Jane Van Duyn (May 9, 1921 - December 2, 2004) was an American poet. She wrote the poetry collections A Time of Bees in 1964, Near Changes in 1990 and Firefall in 1993. She was the U.S. poet laureate between 1992 and 1993.


Van Duyn won every major U.S. prize for poetry, including the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. Despite her accolades, her career fluctuated between praise and obscurity.


Her views of love and marriage ranged from the scathing to the optimistic. In "What I Want to Say", she wrote of love:

It is the absolute narrowing of possibilities
and everyone, down to the last man
dreads it

But in "Late Loving", she wrote:

Love is finding the familiar dear

With her husband Jarvis Thurston, a professor of English literature, Van Duyn enjoyed a long association with Washington University in St. Louis. The couple previously taught at the University of Iowa. Van Duyn was a friend of poet James Merrill and was instrumental in securing his papers for the Washington University Special Collections in the late 1960s or early 1970s.


She died of bone cancer, aged 83.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Mona Van Duyn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (431 words)
Van Duyn was born in 1921 in Waterloo, Iowa.
Van Duyn earned a B.A. degree from Northern Iowa University in 1942, and an M.A. from the University of Iowa in 1943, the year she married Jarvis Thurston.
Van Duyn was a friend of poet James Merrill and was instrumental in securing his papers for the Washington University Special Collections in the mid 1960s.
Poet Laureate Mona Van Duyn Dies at 83 (washingtonpost.com) (843 words)
Mona Van Duyn, whose lyrics of love, everyday life and the transcendent power of art made her one of the nation's most honored poets, as well as the first woman to be named poet laureate of the United States, died Dec. 2 of cancer at her home in St. Louis.
Van Duyn often was called a "domestic poet" because of the relatively small canvas on which she worked.
Van Duyn, who had written poetry since she was 5, battled depression for much of her life and, on occasion, was treated in psychiatric hospitals, but she did not dwell on these episodes.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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