"A poet," Louis Simpson once wrote, "should wish for enough unhappiness to keep him writing."
Simpson may not have wished for trouble, but he kept writing for 60 years — spare, powerful poems about war, infidelity, suburban alienation and other modern ailments that brought a Pulitzer Prize and wide recognition as a perceptive, if cynical, analyst of the American dream.
A native Jamaican of Scottish and Russian descent, Simpson died in his sleep Sept. 14 in Stony Brook, N.Y. He was 89 and had Alzheimer's disease, said his daughter, Anne B. Simpson.
Here's a good comment from a reader:
I'm sorry, Walt, but the public
these days doesn't read anything.
The public watches TV.
That's all right by me.
Popularity out of the way,
we can get on with art…
Only Louis Simpson could write those words so consisely and elegantly. We need more poetry in our lives.