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To an Unknown Poet Summary
Carolyn Kizer

Everything you need to understand or teach To an Unknown Poet by Carolyn Kizer.

  • To an Unknown Poet Summary & Study Guide

To an Unknown Poet Summary


"To an Unknown Poet," was first published in Michigan Quarterly Review and subsequently appeared in Carolyn Kizer's 1986 collection, The Nearness of You. It is included in a section of poems called "Friends," which contains numerous poems about, and dedicated to, other poets. In the poem, Kizer, a much decorated and Pulitzer- Prize winning poet, ironically compares the successful life of a much-decorated poet with the life of an unsuccessful and struggling poet. Kizer wrote the poem shortly after winning the Pulitzer Prize for her collection Yin: New Poems. In simple, straightforward language, the speaker addresses a poor poet who comes to visit her, making excuses for why she does not have time for him, and then later telling him about an award she is about to receive. Her response addresses issues including the place of poetry in American society, the role of the poet, and the nature of literary...

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