Carolyn Kizer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose verse, overtly political and bitingly satirical, came, as she fondly put it, with “a sting in the tail,” died on Thursday in Sonoma, Calif. She was 89.
Ms. Kizer’s poetry is known for its wit, deep intellectualism and rigorous craftsmanship; its stylistic hallmarks include impeccably calibrated rhyme, near-rhyme and meter. It is unsentimental, at times unsettling, but also luminous and warm...
Ms. Kizer’s poetry could be autobiographical, spanning her childhood, her two marriages, the births of her three children and her friendships. But there was a steeliness to it — and a keen sense of humor — that distinguished it from the self-reflexive work of the confessional poets.
She was sometimes called a poet of love and loss, a description whose murky universality irritated her greatly, for what poet’s work, at bottom, is not about those things?