Remembering Mark Strand

“In a field / I am the absence / of field. / This is / always the case. / Wherever I am / I am what is missing.” 

Mark Strand, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U.S. poet laureate recognized as one of the premier American poets of his generation as well as an accomplished editor, translator, and prose writer, has died. He was 80.

Mark Strand was widely praised for his concentrated, elegiac verse and graceful command of both humor and despair.

Born in 1934 at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, he earned a B.F.A at Yale University in 1959 and studied nineteenth-century Italian poetry on a Fulbright Scholarship in Italy during 1960–1961.

He then attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa the following year and earned a Master of Arts in 1962. In 1965 he spent a year in Brazil as a Fulbright Lecturer. He later returned to the Iowa Writers' Workshop to teach as a faculty member.

Strand, whose works were translated into more than 30 languages, died Saturday morning at his daughter's New York home from liposarcoma that had spread throughout his body, just weeks after entering hospice care, said his daughter, Jessica Strand.

"He was a funny, elegant, generous and brilliant man," she said of her father. "A man who lived to work and to be with his friends and the people he loved."

Louise Glück, also a former poet laureate, said Saturday that Strand was a "hero" to her, "one of the few (poets) who grew more amazing as he grew older."

(Photo: Chris Felver, Getty Images)

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