Rediscover: Marie Ponsot

American poet and translator Marie Ponsot died last week at age 98. She began writing poetry as a child in Jamaica, Queens, some of which was published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Ponsot graduated from Columbia University with a masters in 17th-century literature before traveling to post-World War II Paris. She married painter Claude Ponsot and had a daughter prior to returning to the United States. There the couple had another six sons and a divorce, leaving Marie Ponsot a single mother of seven children in New York City. True Minds, a poetry collection released in 1957 by City Lights Pocket Bookshop, was Ponsot's debut and her last published work of poetry for the next 24 years. In the interim, Ponsot wrote for radio and television, translated French children's books and continued producing poetry.

In 1981, Ponsot's unpublished poetry landed on the desk of Knopf poetry editor Alice Quinn. Admit Impediment was the first of several collections released by Knopf, including The Green Dark (1988), The Bird Catcher (1998) and Springing: New and Selected Poems (2002). She also co-authored two books about writing with Rosemary Deen: Beat Not the Poor Desk (1982) and The Common Sense (1985). In 2013, Ponsot received the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2010 to 2014. Her most recent book, Collected Poems (2016), covers the entire 60-year span of Ponsot's career. It is available from Knopf ($28.95, 9781101947692). --Tobias Mutter

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