Linda Pastan

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Linda Pastan
reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 2014
reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 2014
Born (1932-05-27) May 27, 1932 (age 86)
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. Her most recent collections of poetry include Insomnia, Traveling Light, and A Dog Runs Through It.


Pastan has published 15 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.[3]


As of 2018, she lives in Chevy Chase, 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.[4]



  1. ^ "Maryland at a Glance: Poets Laureate". Maryland State Archives. August 26, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ "1994 Faculty" Archived 2008-07-09 at the Wayback Machine., webpage of Middlebury College. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "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.

External links[edit]

External media
Linda Pastan reads "why are your poems so dark?" from the book Queen of a Rainy Country (via
Interview with Linda Pastan. Brown, Jeffrey. 2003. "Conversation: Pastan". In: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. (7 July 2003). Online NewsHour.
Poetry Reading by Linda Pastan at the 10th Beall Poetry Festival, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (2 April 2004).
Beall Poetry Festival: Panel including Denis Donoghue, Galway Kinnell and Linda Pastan, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (3 April 2004).
Poetry Reading by Linda Pastan at the National Book Festival 2004, Washington D.C. (October 2004).