Last night, while reading some Vermont newspapers my cousin had sent down here to another family member, I learned that Ruth Stone died in November. I have yet to read any of her work, but I'm still a bit obsessed with writers who had Vermont connections during the time I was growing up there. (I've done more than a dozen posts here about Shirley Jackson.) Ruth had a big one. For many years she lived in a town that was part of our union school system and one of her daughters was in my eighth grade math class. I don't remember her after that point, probably because, as I learned later, Ruth moved around teaching at colleges.
Her personal story is compelling. She was widowed in her forties and raised three children by herself. She published her first book of poetry in 1959, the year her husband died, but her next one didn't come out until 1971. Her major success didn't come until she was in her 80s and 90s. She won the National Book Award in 2002 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.
She stayed the course, both with her work and with her family. I am impressed.
Ruth Stone's daughter, Phoebe, is the author of The Romeo and Juliet Code, published last year.