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Mona Van Duyn
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Poet
    (May 9, 1921-December 2, 2004)
    Born in Waterloo, Iowa
    Poetry collections include 'Valentines to the Wide World' (1959), 'A Time of Bees' (1964), 'To See, To Take: Poems' (1970), 'Merciful Disguises: Poems Published and Unpublished' (1973), 'Letters from a Father and Other Poems' (1982), 'Near Changes' (1990), 'If It Be Not I: Collected Poems' (1994) and 'Firefall' (1994)
    Won the National Book Prize for Poetry (1971) and Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1991)
    US Poet Laureate (1992-93)
    Last name pronounced 'van dine'
    She suffered bouts of depression and was hospitalized after a nervous breakdown.
    Because much of her poetry came from observations of daily life, she was called a 'domestic poet,' a phrase she disliked.
    She admitted her appointment as Poet Laureate had a lot to do with pressure on the Library of Congress to name a woman to the post: 'I think if I could convince them I was really a man, they would say, 'Don't come.' '
    She had to plead with her father for permission to go to college even after winning a scholarship.
    She was married to Jarvis Thurston for 61 years until her death.
    She did not write about her mental health issues, saying 'It is the years of good health between depressions that I cherish, that seem to me most real.'
    She ended a poem with the couplet, 'The world's perverse/But it could be worse.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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