Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Mark Strand Dead at 80

Posted on November 30, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand has died at the age of 80. According to The New York Times, he died at the home of his daughter, Jessica Strand, after being admitted to hospice. He died of liposarcoma, a rare cancer.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1999 for his poetry collection Blizzard of One. In 1990 Mr. Strand became Poet Laureate of the United States. Strand was known for his spare prose which conveyed great feeling about fear, anxiety, alienation and death.

He went to Yale and studied art, but by the time he got to graduate school he became bored with it and turned to writing. There he found his great calling in life, although he once said that if you had told him as a teen the he would become a poet he would not have believed it. He published his first poetry collection in 1964. It was called Sleeping With One Eye Open. He said that he felt the constant worry and anxiety of the threat of nuclear war at a time when things seemed quite dangerous in the world.

Mr. Strand wrote numerous volumes of poetry, prose shorts and books of art criticism, including The Art of the Real, and William Bailey. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he was awarded the Bollingen Prize, a Rockefeller Foundation Awards and numerous grants and endowments. He taught at Yale University, Columbia University, University of California at Irvine and Harvard University.

His most recent collection was published in 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf. The collection is available now and is called Collected Poems: Mark Strand. It was longlist nominee for the National Book Award. You can read Professor Carol Muske-Dukes' excellent essay about Mr. Strong in the L.A. Times here. You can read the New York Times' obituary here.

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