On this day in 1997, American poet, David Ignatow died at the age of 83.
During his literary career, Ignatow worked as an editor of American Poetry Review, Analytic, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Chelsea Magazine, and as poetry editor of The Nation. His many honors include a Bollingen Prize in Poetry, two Guggenheim fellowships, the John Steinbeck Award, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters award “for a lifetime of creative effort.” He received the Shelley Memorial Award (1966), the Frost Medal (1992), and the William Carlos Williams Award (1997) of the Poetry Society of America.
Rescue the Dead, published in 1968, is one of those books every writer should have in their arsenal. It is emotionally exhausting to read but never fails to inspire.The poems in this collection are both horrifying and hopeful. Ignatow brings us face to face with death; the permanence of it, the simplicity of it… even the beauty in it. It is a masterpiece, not to be missed!
A few other collections that may interest you are, Tread the Dark, Leaving the Door Open and Living Is What I Wanted: Last Poems. Ignatow’s writing is infused with urban grit and wry humor and we just adore him for that! Whether he is writing about urban America, family relations, suicide, death or social change, he is always insightful.
Tonight, write about a death. A friend, a family member, someone you’ve never met… your own. Write the truest lines you’ll ever write.
Write on in peace, Mr. Ignatow!
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