Linda Pastan

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Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
Linda Pastan
Born (1932-05-27) May 27, 1932 (age 90)
New York
SpouseIra Pastan

Linda Pastan (born May 27, 1932, in New York) is an American poet of Jewish background. From 1991 to 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, a physician and researcher.



  • A perfect circle of sun. Chicago: Swallow Press. 1971.
  • Aspects of Eve. New York: Liveright. 1975, ISBN 9780871401021
  • On the way to the zoo: poems, Illustrated by Raya Bodnarchuk, Dryad Press, 1975
  • Marks. 1978
  • The Five Stages of Grief. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978
  • Setting the Table Dryad Press. 1980
  • Waiting For My Life. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 1981, ISBN 9780393000498
  • PM / AM. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 1982, ISBN 9780393300550
  • A Fraction of Darkness. New York: Norton, 1985 ISBN 9780393302516
  • The Imperfect Paradise. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1988, ISBN 9780393025651
  • Heroes in Disguise. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 1991, ISBN 9780393309225
  • An Early Afterlife. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 1995, ISBN 9780393313819
  • Carnival Evening. New and Selected Poems: 1968 – 1998. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 1998, ISBN 9780393319279
  • The Last Uncle. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 2001, ISBN 9780393325300
  • Queen of a Rainy Country: Poems. W. W. Norton & Co. 2006, ISBN 9780393331417
  • Traveling Light: Poems. W.W. Norton & Company. January 2011. ISBN 978-0-393-07907-4.
  • Insomnia: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 2015. ISBN 9780393247183
  • A Dog Runs Through It. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 2018. ISBN 9780393651300
List of poems
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
First snow 2013 "First snow". The New Yorker. 89 (4): 68. March 11, 2013.
To a Daughter Leaving Home 1998 "Carnival Evening" 1998

Critical studies and reviews of Pastan's work[edit]

  • 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.


  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. ^ "Linda Pastan". 4 January 2022.

External links[edit]

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