Deborah Digges

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Deborah Digges
BornDeborah Sugarbaker
(1950-02-06)February 6, 1950.
Jefferson City, Missouri
DiedApril 10, 2009(2009-04-10) (aged 59)
Amherst, Massachusetts
OccupationWriter, poet, teacher
Alma materUniversity of California, Riverside, B.A.; University of Missouri, M.A.; Iowa Writers' Workshop, M.F.A.
Notable worksVesper Sparrows (1986); Rough Music (1995)
Notable awardsIngram-Merrill Award (1985); National Endowment for the Arts grant (1987); Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award (1987); Guggenheim Fellowship, (1988); Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award (1996)

Deborah Digges (February 6, 1950 – April 10, 2009) was an American poet and teacher.


She was born Deborah Leah Sugarbaker in Jefferson City, Missouri, on February 6, 1950. Her father was a physician and her mother was a nurse; she was the sixth child in a family of ten children.[1]

Digges received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Riverside in 1976, a Masters from the University of Missouri in 1982, and her Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1984. In the course of her academic career, she taught in the writing and English faculties of New York University, Boston University, Columbia University, and Tufts University.

She authored four books of poetry and two memoirs. Her first book of poems, Vesper Sparrows, won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize for Poetry. In 1997 Digges was awarded the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the largest prize for a single work of poetry, for her book Rough Music.[2] She was also the winner of two Pushcart Prizes.[3] Digges translated the poems of the Cuban poet María Elena Cruz Varela. A book of poetry, The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart: Poems, was published by Knopf in 2010.

Digges died April 10, 2009, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her death was reported as a suicide following her fatal fall from the top of the bleachers of Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[2] She is buried with her third husband, Franklin M. Loew, at Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst.[4]



  • Vesper Sparrows (Atheneum Publishers, 1986)
  • Late In The Millennium (Knopf, 1989)
  • Rough Music (Random House, 1997)
  • Trapeze (Knopf, 2005)
  • The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart: Poems (Knopf, 2010, posthumous)


  • Fugitive Spring (Knopf, 1992)
  • The Stardust Lounge: Stories from a Boy's Adolescence (Anchor Books, 2001).


  • Ballad of the Blood/Balada De La Sangre: The Poems of Maria Elena Cruz (Ecco Press, 1997)

Honors and grants[edit]


  1. ^ Fox, Margali (2009-04-16). "Deborah Digges, Poet Who Channeled, Dies at 59". The New York Times. Arts. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  2. ^ a b Lederman, Diane (2009-04-13). "Poet, Tufts professor Deborah Digges of Amherst an apparent suicide at UMass stadium". Massachusetts Local News. The Republican. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  3. ^ "Faculty Profiles: Deborah Digges". Faculty By Department, Tufts University Arts, Sciences and Engineering, English Department. Tufts University. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  4. ^ Burial Page for Deborah Leah Digges on Find-A-Grave| url=


  • McLean, Jacqueline A. K. (2002). Catherine Cucinella (ed.). Contemporary American Women Poets. A-to-Z. Greenwood Press. pp. 95–99. ISBN 0-313-31783-6.

External links[edit]