Ruth Stone, an award-winning poet, passed away last week at the age of 96. Stone died of natural causes on November 19th in Vermont. She was surrounded by her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Stone, a prolific writer since her 20s, didn’t gain recognition for her work until much later in life. Stone didn’t gain national attention until she won the National Book Award in 2002 for In the Next Galaxy when she was 87. Stone was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for “What Love Comes To.” She also won the National Book Critics Circle award and two Guggenheim honors during her writing career.
Stone, born in 1915 in Virginia, had a difficult path to literary stardom. After her husband committed suicide she was left to raise three kids on her own. She published her first collection of poems in 1959, but according to ABC, depression and the responsibilities of raising three children delayed her second book until 1971. Another decade past until she was able to publish her third book, “American Milk.”
Stone finally found some time to write as she entered her 70s and found a stable job as a professor of English and creative writing at the State University of New York in Binghamton. Most of Stone’s work, including ”The Solution,” “Simplicity,” and “In the Next Galaxy” were all published after Ruth’s 70th birthday.
Here’s a video of Ruth Stone reciting some of her poetry.