· Nixon fired the chair Roger L.

Carolyn Ashley Kizer is an American poet,
translator, and essayist whose writings are a strong reflection of her views of
feminism and her thoughts of the importance of encounters between two people.
Kizer was born in Spokane, Washington on December 10, 1925 to two distinguished
parents- Benjamin Hamilton Kizer and Mabel Ashley Kizer- who infused her
childhood with poetry, often reading to her the works of John Keats and Walt
Whitman. Her mother, Ashley Kizer, was a professor of biology and a Stanford
university graduate, while her father was a successful attorney that Kizer once
describes as “authoritarian and severe” and often spoke of his inability to form
a bond with her. Kizer graduated from Lewis and Clarke High School and went on
to get her bachelor’s degree in comparative mythologies in 1945 from Sarah
Lawrence University. She also move forward to complete her graduate studies at
the University of Washington and Colombia University. After college, she
returned to Washington a married attorney Charles Stimson Bullitt in 1946.
Kizer and Bullitt went on to have three children: Fred Nemo, Jill Bullitt, and
Ashley Bullitt. She enrolled in a 1954 creative writing workshop hosted by
famed poet Theodore Roethke to better her writing and by 1954 who Kizer said
eventually taught her to take poetry seriously. Kizer later went on to divorce her
first husband Bullitt and helped found Poetry
Northwest in 1959 for which she served as leading editor until 1965. Kizer
served at the U.S. State Department’s “Specialist in Literature” from 1965-1966
in Pakistan where she taught at a variety of educational institutions including
the Kinnaird College for Women. She became the first Literary Programs director
for the National Endowment for the Arts in 1966, but resigned after only four years
when President Richard Nixon fired the chair Roger L. Stevens. Between the 70’s
and 80’s Kizer hosted various appointments as the poet-in-residence for a
variety of prestigious and well-known universities nationwide including:
Columbia, Stanford, and Princeton. On top of this, she has been a member of the
Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In 1955, she was designated the Chancellor of the
Academy of American Poets but ended up 
resigning three years later to protest the exclusion of both women and
minorities on the governing board. Along with teaching and giving lectures at a
multitude of universities and other universities worldwide, she lived to translate
various poems in the languages of Urdu, Chinese, and Japanese. Kizer stated, “Each
poetic voice is so different from every other poetic voice. The thing you have
to do is become that person for a time,” when explaining her technique for
translating poetry written in other languages. During her lifetime Kizer’s
work, most importantly her poetry, has become critically acclaimed worldwide
and they have won her honors and awards such as:
an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, the Theodore
Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for Yin (1984).  Towards the end of her life Kizer went on to
marry her second husband, architect-historian, John Marshall Woodbridge and split
her time between her California home and her Parisian apartment.  On October 9, 2014, Kizer died of dementia
related illnesses in Sonoma, California.