Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
Worcester County Poetry Association / PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 / 508-797-4770 / wcpaboard@yahoo.com

2011 Kunitz-Stockmal House
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4 Woodford Street
Photo by Alan Carey
The pear tree.......

.....and the pears.
Stanley's highchair, found in a basement storage room and identified by him on a visit in the 1980s.
The front porch of 4 Woodford Street. The door leads to the second floor apartment, restored by the Stockmals and now as a gallery space.
The front parlor,  restored to reflect a home of the early part of the 20th century, when the Kunitz family lived there. The piano is very much like the one played by his sisters and occupies the same place of pride in the front parlor.
The first floor rooms display Kunitz poetry, photographs, and correspondence.
Below, the room that was Stanley's childhood bedroom.
Sunday, October 9
Monday, October 10

4 Woodford Street, Worcester

Open House 10:00am to 4:00pm

Docent Tours 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30

Art Exhibits
"Stanley Kunitz Visits Worcester"
Photographs by John Gaumond

"The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden"
Photographs by Marnie Crawford Samuelson

Poetry Open Mic 1:30pm, daily in the Second Floor Gallery
Read your own poetry or the work of your favorite poet.
All are welcome to listen or participate in the reading.

go to 2011 photos
Stanley Kunitz: A Brief Biography

Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006) was born on Green Street in Worcester on July 29, the son of Solomon and Yetta Jasspon Kunitz. His early years are the subject of several poems. “The Magic Curtain” recalls memories of movies he had seen in his childhood. “The Portrait” is an extremely powerful piece which recalls his father’s untimely death and his mother’s refusal to discuss it. “The Testing Tree” tells about Kunitz’s boyhood ritual which involved throwing rocks at an oak tree on the edge of the city. This ritual carried implications which “challenged his destiny.” A later poem, “My Mother’s Pears,” describes the pear tree which he and his mother planted in 1919 in the backyard of his home on 4 Woodford Street. Kunitz dedicated the poem to Greg and Carol Stockmal.

Kunitz graduated from Worcester’s Classical High School and then earned an AB and an MA from Harvard. He edited the Wilson Library Bulletin and numerous important reference works on British and American authors. Kunitz established himself as an extremely influential writer in this country. He won the Pulitzer for Selected Poems 1928-1958; other awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Fellowship Award of the Academy of American Poets, the Bollingen Prize and the Lenoire Marshall Prize, the Brandeis Medal of Achievement, the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit, the National Book Award, and in 1993 President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Art. He was a Professor of Poetry at Columbia, a translator of the works of several Russian writers, including Voznesensky, Akhmatova, and Mandelstam, an editor of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, and was named the first official New York State Poet. From 1974 to 1976, he served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress and again named U.S. Poet Laureate (as the position is now designated) in July 2000, a few days after his 95th birthday.

At the age of 100, he published his last book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden. Written in collaboration with his literary assistant Genine Lentine and accompanied by photographs by Marnie Crawford Samulelson of the writer in his beloved Provincetown garden, the book includes essays, favorite poems, and reminiscences. Stanley Kunitz died in his Greenwich Village apartment on May 14, 2006.
Photo by Cheryl Richards,
courtesy of Carol Stockmal
1922 - Stanley's graduation portrait.
2001 - Woodford Street
The second floor parlor and dining- room currently house an exhibit of Marnie Crawford Samuelson's photos from Kunitz's last book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden

The members of the Worcester County Poetry Association, its officers and board members mourn the  December 21, 2008, death of Gregory Stockmal.

We all learned from Greg’s knowledge of the life of Stanley Kunitz. Greg’s energy, charm, and presence will be sadly missed by us all. 

We were very happy to have Greg and Carol Stockmal serve as honorary board members of our association, and we look forward to Carol continuing as an honorary board member. They always welcomed us to "Stanley's House,"  which Greg and Carol so lovingly restored and shared with the community.

Greg's Woodford Street tours were legendary - a mix of humor, history and affection for Stanley Kunitz.  It is in Greg's honor, as well as Stanley's,  that Carol Stockmal and Judith Ferrara have developed the Kunitz/Stockmal House Docent Program to train individuals to conduct Woodford Street tours and continue Greg's work. 

We honor Greg, as well, with the  Annual Gregory Stockmal Reading, featuring poet Stephen Cramer, Friday, October 8, at Clark University Goddard Library, 7:30pm.

Carol has generously allowed us to establish the  Gregory Stockmal Memorial Fund to support  Kunitz programming.

Contributions to the fund in Greg's memory should be payable to the Worcester County Poetry Association. Please indicate Gregory Stockmal Memorial Fund on the memo line.

Link to the obituary

If you would like to volunteer for the 2010 docent training sessions, please contact WCPA.

Gregory  P. Stockmal

Leading a tour at Woodford Street.
Greeting friends to Footsteps in History.
The second floor gallery at Woodford Street.
Hosting Bloomsday 2007 ramblers.
Celebrating Elizabeth Bishop's birthday.
With wife Carol and poet Cleopatra Mathis.
Visit the
Footsteps in History
The pear tree planted at Tower Hill Botanic Garden commemorating Stanley Kunitz's 100th birthday.
Photo by Dan Lewis
Stanley Kunitz at the Worcester Senior Center, 2001.
Photo by John Gaumond
Renovations at Woodford Street
Photograph by Christinga O'Neill
Drawing of 4 Woodford Street by Doris Carter.
Association of LibraryTrustees,
Advocates, Friends and Foundations

Link to Stanley Kunitz
Literary Landmark Page
Michael True was the featured poet of the 2011 Gregory Stockmal Reading, held at Assumption College. Pictured here following the reading: John Hodgen, Michael True, Carol Stockmal, David Thoreen. Visit the 2011 Gregory Stockmal Reading web page for more photos and information.
Carol Stockmal  with tour group in the library.  Carol is holding a mock-up elephant folio of Dante's Inferno illustrated by Gustave Dore. The volume was a favorite of the young Stanley Kunitz.Docent John Gaumond listens with a tour group to a recording of Stanley Kunitz reading "My Mother's Pears" while in the garden beside the pear tree.Docent Carle Johnson leads a poetry discussion and reading in the second floor gallery surrounded by Marnie Crawford Samuelson's photographs for Kunitz's last book, The Wild Braid, published in his 100th year.Docent Nancy Hall led her group to the final stop on the tour, the garden, and was joined by other docents and visitors.Carle Johnson and Anne Marie Lucci share a laugh during the Monday afternoon poetry reading.Dan Lewis reads a poem about receiving the gift of a pear from the Woodford Street tree planted by Stanley Kunitz and his mother.Carol Stockmal listens as visitors read Kunitz poetry during the Monday afternoon reading held in the garden at Woodford Street.
Scenes from the 2011 Kunitz-Stockmal Open House
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