clear
Sunday July 22nd, 2018 6:44AM

Highly regarded poet J.D. McClatchy has died at age 72

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — J.D. McClatchy, a revered and versatile man of letters praised as a poet, librettist, educator, editor and translator, died Tuesday night at his home in Manhattan. He was 72.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced that McClatchy, known as "Sandy" to his friends, had been battling cancer and died at his home in Manhattan.

"Sandy always had time to gossip in the midst of myriad deadlines, and I marveled at the hours he logged in his dedication to the literary arts," Knopf editor Deborah Garrison said in a statement Wednesday. "His own work was a major contribution to American poetry, yet he rarely mentioned it because he was busily engaged in editing or enlarging the work of others."

As a poet, McClatchy was acclaimed for drawing upon a rich and unpredictable range of influences, from classical music to Japanese history, for his perception and intimacy about private life and growing concern about political life, especially after the September 11, 2001, attacks. His books included "Star Principal," ''The Rest of the Way," ''Hazmat," a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003, and, most recently, the 2014 publication "Plundered Hearts."

He wrote often about the human body, its desires and its failings, observing in "My Mammogram" that "the future each of us blankly awaits/ Was long ago written on the genetic wall." The poem, from his 1998 collection, "Ten Commandments," ends with his fears of illness and the body's transformation.

So suppose the breasts fill out until I look

Like my own mother ... ready to nurse a son,

A version of myself, the infant understood

In the end as the way my own death had come.

Or will I in a decade be back here again,

The diagnosis this time not freakish but fatal?

The changes in one's later years all tend,

Until the last one, toward the farcical

He also took on numerous other art forms and responsibilities. He had loved opera since childhood and wrote what The New York Times called a "witty, singable English translation" of Mozart's "The Magic Flute." His other credits included libretti for "Orpheus Descending," ''A Question of Taste" and "Miss Lonelyhearts."

"Operatic dramaturgy has its own rhythms," McClatchy told Opera Chic in 2009. "I think being a poet trains you to be concise, to move in language by images, to understand the dynamic of speech. Advancing a plot and revealing a character in opera — well, there's very little time to do that. Poets seem best equipped for the task."

He was a longtime professor at Yale University and editor of The Yale Review, one of the world's oldest literary journals. He was a former president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the editor or co-editor of works by Thornton Wilder, James Merrill and many others, and the executor or co-executor of the literary estates of fellow poets Merrill, Anthony Hecht and Mona Van Duyn.

Joseph Donald McClatchy Jr. was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and as a boy attended Jesuit schools, developing a lifelong interest in classical literature. He studied at Georgetown and Yale as an undergraduate and received a Ph.D. in poetry from Yale. But he also struggled personally and professionally, and had a breakdown in his mid-20s, later telling Poets & Writers Magazine that he was "afraid of being gay and what the consequences would be." His first collection, "Scenes from Another Life," was published in 1981.

He is survived by his husband, Chip Kidd, an associate director of cover art at Knopf, and three sisters.

"Sandy was a remarkable person: a brilliant poet and teacher — the inspired and tireless editor of Yale Review — one of the most successful librettists of our time — a powerful and generous presence in our literary culture," his friend Joyce Carol Oates wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "He will be terribly missed."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Online Recordings News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Highly regarded poet J.D. McClatchy has died at age 72
Highly regarded poet, editor and translator J.D. McClatchy, who had been battling cancer, died Tuesday night at his home in New York City at age 72
12:17PM ( 4 minutes ago )
The Latest: Cosby allowed to raise accuser's criminal past
Jurors will be able to hear about the criminal past of one of the accusers in Bill Cosby's sex-assault retrial
12:10PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Megachurch founder quits amid sexual misconduct allegations
The Chicago-area founder of one of the nation's largest evangelical churches is stepping down following allegations he behaved inappropriately with female congregants
12:04PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Police: Bank robbery suspect trying to impress Taylor Swift
Police say a Connecticut man with a crush on singer Taylor Swift robbed a bank then went to the pop star's Rhode Island mansion where he threw cash over a fence in an attempt to impress her
10:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Swedish king: Nobel trouble can be 'seriously damaging'
Swedish king says resignation of 3 members of Nobel Literature Prize awarding body who quit after failing to exclude a fellow member whose husband is embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations "risk seriously damaging" its "important activities."
10:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
Patriots owner Robert Kraft visits Meek Mill in prison
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft calls for reform of the criminal justice system after visiting rapper Meek Mill in Pennsylvania prison
9:53AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Television ratings down for NCAA finals on cable TV
Villanova's victory over Michigan wasn't a big winner in the television ratings
7:20PM ( 17 hours ago )
TV host resigns after threatening school shooting survivor
Conservative commentator who tweeted he would use "a hot poker" to sexually assault outspoken 17-year-old survivor of recent Florida high school shooting has resigned from a St. Louis TV station
7:18PM ( 17 hours ago )
Seth Meyers' wife gives birth in lobby of their building
Seth Myers says his new son was born in the lobby of their apartment building
12:56PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online TV News
The Latest: Cosby allowed to raise accuser's criminal past
Jurors will be able to hear about the criminal past of one of the accusers in Bill Cosby's sex-assault retrial
12:10PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Megachurch founder quits amid sexual misconduct allegations
The Chicago-area founder of one of the nation's largest evangelical churches is stepping down following allegations he behaved inappropriately with female congregants
12:04PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Ryan bows out: 'I have given this job everything I have'
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for re-election
12:00PM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Accuser tells jury Cosby is a 'serial rapist'
The first accuser testifying at Bill Cosby's retrial is telling jurors she wants to "see a serial rapist convicted."
11:58AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Republicans, Democrats reverse roles in hearing on CFPB
Republicans are praising Mick Mulvaney's leadership of the nation's consumer financial watchdog, while Democrats are raising concerns that he's done more to protect financial companies than consumers
11:58AM ( 24 minutes ago )