Monday, October 29, 2007

Obituary: Jane M. Cooper, Poet, 1924-2007

Jane Marvel Cooper, poet, Professor and Poet-in-Residence Emerita at
Sarah Lawrence College, died peacefully at Pennswood Village, Newtown,
PA, on October 26th from complications due to Parkinson's Disease.
Family were with her at the end.

She was the daughter of the late John C. Cooper Jr. and Martha Marvel
Cooper, and sister of the late Rachel C. Baker, all formerly of Armour
Road, Princeton. Jane Cooper was born in Atlantic City, N.J. in 1924.
She spent her early childhood in Jacksonville, Florida and then moved
with her family to Princeton in the mid-1930s. There she went to Miss
Fine's School where, in her senior year, she won the Leslie Shear Poetry
Prize for two works: "We are the Generation of War" and "I have Sung
Solitary Various Worlds", early signs of future acclaim.

She attended Vassar College 1942 to 1944 and earned a B.A. from the
University of Wisconsin in 1946. She joined the faculty of Sarah
Lawrence College in 1950, where she remained as a teacher and poet in
residence until her retirement in 1987. Over that period, together with
Grace Paley, Jean Valentine, Muriel Rukeyser and others, she helped
develop and enhance a writing program that became one of the most
distinguished in the country.

In 1953-54 she took a year off to get a M.A. at the University of Iowa,
where she studied with Robert Lowell and John Berryman. She received
much recognition in her lifetime including awards from the Guggenheim
Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for
the Arts, the Bunting Institute and the American Academy of Arts and

Jane Cooper maintained her links with Princeton over the years, but she
lived most of her adult life in New York City. She also spent several
summers at Yaddo and the McDowell Colony, working on her own poetry. Her
first book, The Weather of Six Mornings, appeared in 1969 and was
followed at intervals by four others: Maps and Windows (1974),
Scaffolding: Selected Poems (1984), Green Notebook, Winter Road (1994)
and The Flashboat: Poems Collected and Reclaimed (2000). She was named
State Poet of New York for 1995-97.

She is survived by her brother, John C. Cooper III, of Tucson, AZ, five
nephews, two nieces and three grandnieces. There will be a service at
All Saints Church, Princeton on Saturday, November 3, at 1:00 p.m.  All
are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Immune
Deficiency Foundation, 40 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Suite 308, Towson, MD 21204.

(Prepared by the family of Jane M. Cooper, October 2007)

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