E-Verse is deeply saddened by the death of the poet Rachel Wetzsteon

by on 30/12/09 at 10:04 am

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Rachel was certainly one of the finest poets of my generation, and it was a great honor to appear in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets with her. I was scheduled to read with her at the Grolier Club earlier this month, but she had the flu and was unable to appear. I only just heard this morning about her death, which may have been a suicide. More information will be posted as it comes available.

Here is a link to Adam Kirsch’s review of her last book, from the Contemporary Poetry Review. I understand that she was just made poetry editor at the New Republic and has a new book scheduled for publication. She will be dearly missed.

“Gold Leaves” by Rachel Wetzsteon

Someone ought to write about (I thought
and therefore do) stage three of alchemy:
not inauspicious metal turned into
a gilded page, but that same page turned back
to basics when you step outside for air
and feel a radiance that was not there
the day before, your sidewalks lined with gold.


Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is founder of E-Verse Radio.

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4 Responses to “E-Verse is deeply saddened by the death of the poet Rachel Wetzsteon”

  1. jpiazza@usc.edu'

    Jess Piazza

    Dec 30th, 2009

    So you have any more information about her passing? I hadn’t heard anything about this, and it’s truly disturbing. Rachel: such a fantastic poet. A really nice person, too. I’m shocked.


  2. rothmandavidj@msn.com'

    David J. Rothman

    Dec 30th, 2009

    Hi Ernie:

    This is so sad. She was indeed a very fine poet, with a great sense of play and a good sense of humor. Sensuous and thoughtful at the same time.

    I don’t know if you knew this — she was a Councilor on ALSC for three years — that’s how I met her — I remember one wonderful afternoon just shooting the breeze in a coffee shop near St. John’s Cathedral — so sad.

    Dave R.


  3. mlt@uwm.edu'

    Marilyn Taylor

    Dec 30th, 2009

    Ernie, this is devastating news. I admired Rachel and her work very much, and it will be a double loss for many of us– personal one as well as a professional/artistic one. She was an amazing poet and a lovely person.


  4. jlsjuneau@sunrise.ch'

    Jennifer Juneau

    Dec 31st, 2009

    Rachel was the first published poet I ever met, when I studied poetry at the Unterberg Poetry Center in NYC. At that time, she became my poetry coach, and taught me a lot about the art of verse. Shortly after, I began writing and publishing poems feverishly. I moved to Switzerland a few months later and we kept in touch briefly, we talked about her coming for a visit, but unfortuantely I never got around to making that arrangement. I’m sorry I never did. Rachel left an indelible mark on me, and to this day, I’ve been inspired by her work, and hope that reflection can be seen in my poems “This House” and “Home Study.”


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