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A.R. Ammons, Poet, Dies at 75

February 26, 2001

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) _ A.R. Ammons, who started writing poetry aboard a Navy destroyer during World War II and went on to win nearly every major American poetry award over the next half-century, has died at 75.

The longtime professor of English and poetry at Cornell University died Sunday at his home. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

His poetry was described as echoing Emerson and Whitman in its treatment of nature and the soul, its fidelity to details and its contemporary, conversational tone. He was also compared to Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams.

Ammons won two National Book Awards _ in 1973 for ``Collected Poems″ and in 1993 for ``Garbage,″ often regarded as his finest work.

He published nearly 30 books. His first collection, ``Ommateum,″ came out in 1955; his final book of poems, ``Glare,″ in 1997.

Archie Randolph Ammons was born near Whiteville, N.C. After service in the South Pacific during the war, he graduated from Wake Forest University in 1949. He later studied at the University of California at Berkeley.

He worked as an elementary school principal, a real estate salesman, an editor and an executive in his father’s glass company before he began teaching creative writing at Cornell in 1964.

Novelist Robert Morgan, a fellow faculty member, said Ammons was ``one of the most distinctive voices in American poetry. There is no one like him.″

Ammons received the Frost Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Poetry over a Lifetime, given by the Poetry Society of America; the National Book Critics Circle Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; and a MacArthur Foundation ``genius grant.″

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