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American poet Louis Simpson passes away

American poet Louis Simpson passes away

THE leading American poet Louis Simpson has passed away. He was 89.

His work tended to reflect what many regarded as the darker side of life in the United States.

Mr. Simpson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1964 for his collection At The End Of The Open Road. This was his fourth book and contained the short poem, In the Suburbs, which presented a bleak outlook for the middleclass.

Born in Jamaica, Mr. Simpson moved to the United States when he was 17 and went on to study at Columbia University.

During the Second World War he served with the 101st. Airborne Division and saw action in Europe, where was wounded. After the war he suffered a breakdown, which is believed to have been the result of his war service.

It was several years before he was able to return to writing and to complete his studies at Columbia.

For many years, Mr. Simpson combined his writing with teaching at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Over his career he published 18 books of poetry with his later works displaying less pessimism.

His final collection of work, Struggling Times, was published in 2009 and dealt with his old age and declining health.

To see Mr. Simpson read two poems from Struggling Times, click here.


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