Linda Pastan

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Linda Pastan
Linda pastan 3869.JPG
reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 2014
Born (1932-05-27) May 27, 1932 (age 82)
New York
Nationality American
Genre Poetry
Spouse Ira Pastan

Linda Pastan (born May 27, 1932 in New York) is an American poet of Jewish background. From 1991–1995 she was Poet Laureate of Maryland.[1] She is known for writing short poems that address topics like family life, domesticity, motherhood, the female experience, aging, death, loss and the fear of loss, as well as the fragility of life and relationships.


Pastan has published at least 12 books of poetry and a number of essays. Her awards include the Dylan Thomas Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award (Poetry Society of America), the Bess Hokin Prize (Poetry Magazine), the 1986 Maurice English Poetry Award (for A Fraction of Darkness),[2] the Charity Randall Citation of the International Poetry Forum, and the 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. She also received the Radcliffe College Distinguished Alumnae Award.

Two of her collections of poems were nominated for the National Book Award and one for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

As of 2011, she lives in Potomac, Maryland with her husband Ira Pastan, an accomplished physician and researcher.

She is the mother of novelist Rachel Pastan; Washington, D.C. chef and restaurateur Peter Pastan; and Atlanta nephrologist Stephen Pastan.[3]


  • 1971 A Perfect Circle of Sun. Chicago: Swallow Press Inc.
  • 1975 Aspects of Eve. New York: Liveright.
  • 1978 Marks.
  • 1978 The Five Stages of Grief. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 1980 Setting the Table Dryad Press.
  • 1981 Waiting For My Life. New York: W. W. Norton & Co
  • 1982 PM / AM. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 1985 A Fraction of Darkness. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 1988 The Imperfect Paradise. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 1991 Heroes in Disguise. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 1995 An Early Afterlife. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 1998 Carnival Evening. New and Selected Poems: 1968 – 1998. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 2001 The Last Uncle. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 2006 Queen of a Rainy Country. Poems. W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 2011 Traveling Light. New York W. W. Norton & Co.
  • 2011 A daughter leaving home.New York W. W. Norton & Co.


  1. ^ "Maryland at a Glance: Poets Laureate". Maryland State Archives. August 26, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ "1994 Faculty", webpage of Middlebury College. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  3. ^ "Pastan, Linda". 


  • Franklin, Benjamin. 1981. "Theme and Structure in Linda Pastan's Poetry". In: Poet Lore. 75 (4). 234 – 241.
  • Mishkin, Tracy. 2004 "Aspects of Eve: The Garden of Eden in the Poetry of Linda Pastan". In: Behlau, Ulrike (ed.), Reitz, Bernhard (ed.). Jewish Women's Writing of the 1990s and Beyond. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag. 95 – 103.
  • "Whatever is at Hand. A Conversation with Linda Pastan". 1989. In: Ingersoll, Earl (ed.), Kitchen, Judith (ed.), Rubin, Stan (ed.). The Post-Confessionals: Conversations with American Poets of the Eighties. New York: Associated University Press. 135 – 149.

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