Perhaps the purpose of leaves is to conceal the verticality of trees which we notice in December as if for the first time: row after row of dark forms yearning upwards. And since we will be horizontal ourselves for so long, let us now honor the gods of the vertical: stalks of wheat which to the ant must seem as
On May 27, 1932, Linda Pastan was born to a Jewish family in the Bronx. She graduated from Radcliffe College and received an MA from Brandeis University.
She is the author of Traveling Light (W. W. Norton & Co., 2011); Queen of a Rainy Country (2006); The Last Uncle (2002); Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998 (1998), which was nominated for the National Book Award; An Early Afterlife (l995); Heroes In Disguise (1991), The Imperfect Paradise (1988), a nominee for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; PM/AM: New and Selected Poems (l982), which was nominated for the National Book Award; The Five Stages of Grief (l978), and A Perfect Circle of Sun (l971).
About Pastan's The Five Stages of Grief, the poet May Sarton said, "It is about all her integrity that has made Linda Pastan such a rewarding poet. Nothing is here for effect. There is no self-pity, but in this new book she has reached down to a deeper layer and is letting the darkness in. These poems are full of foreboding and acceptance, a wry unsentimental acceptance of hard truth. They are valuable as signposts, and in the end, as arrivals. Pastan's signature is growth."
Among her many awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, a Dylan Thomas Award, the Di Castagnola Award, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Maurice English Award, the Charity Randall Citation, and the 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. She was a recipient of a Radcliffe College Distinguished Alumnae Award.
From 1991 to 1995, she served as the Poet Laureate of Maryland, and was among the staff of the Breadloaf Writers Conference for twenty years. Linda Pastan lives in Potomac, Maryland.