Linda Pastan: Poems


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 Queen of a Rainy Country.


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]

  • A Perfect Circle of Sun. Chicago: Swallow Press Inc. 1971, ISBN 9780804005531
  • 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
  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
  • Linda Pastan on Norton Poets Online
  • A Selection of Poems by Linda Pastan
  • Linda Pastan: Online Poems at
  • Earl G. Ingersoll; Judith Kitchen; Stan Sanvel Rubin (1 January 1989). The Post-confessionals: Conversations with American Poets of the Eighties. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-8386-3330-4. 

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