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Louis Simpson, Pulitzer-Winning Poet, Dies at 89

Simpson was both a resident of Stony Brook and a former professor at the university.

Louis Simpson, a Stony Brook University English professor who won a Pulitzer prize in 1964 for his collection At the End of the Open Road, died Sept. 14 at his home in Stony Brook. He was 89.

Simpson fought Alzheimer's Disease and was bed-ridden for an extended period of time, according to an obituary published in The New York Times. A critic once dubbed Simpson “the Chekhov of contemporary American poetry,” according to the obituary.

The New York Times published his poem "American Poetry:"

Whatever it is, it must have

A stomach that can digest

Rubber, coal, uranium, moons, poems.

Like the shark, it contains a shoe.

It must swim for miles through the desert

Uttering cries that are almost human.

Simpson, who was raised in Jamaica after his mother traveled there to work in the film industry, was married and divorced three times. He is survived by daughter Anne, sons Matthew and Anthony, and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be at Bryant Funeral Home on Sept. 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a 3 p.m. memorial service at Caroline Church on Sept. 27.

THE SOCIAL WORKER September 19, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I was really impressed with Mr. Simpson. I enjoyed his recollections of Fr. Thomas Merton, his works and their crossroads at Columbia U.

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