Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Ai (poet)

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Notable works
Vice (1999)

Florence Anthony

Literary movement


Ai (poet) University Book Store
African American literature

Notable awards
National Book Award1999

University of California, Irvine (1971), University of Arizona

National Book Award for Poetry, American Book Awards

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Poetry

The Collected Poems of, Dread, No Surrender: Poems, Greed

Ezra Pound, Henri Matisse, Carolyn Kreiter Foronda

October 21, 1947 (age 62), Albany, Texas, United States

March 20, 2010 (aged 62) Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States

Florence Anthony (October 21, 1947 – March 20, 2010) was an American poet and educator who legally changed her name to Ai Ogawa (Japanese: 愛小川 Literally: "Love Stream"). She won the 1999 National Book Award for Poetry for Vice: New and Selected Poems.


Ai (poet) httpswwwpoetsorgsitesdefaultfilesstyles2

Early life

Ai (poet) Ai The Poetry Foundation

Ai, who described herself as half Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, Southern Cheyenne, and Comanche, was born in Albany, Texas in 1947, and she grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Raised also in Las Vegas and San Francisco, she majored in Oriental Studies at the University of Arizona and immersed herself in Buddhism.


Ai held an M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine. She was the author of Dread (W. W. Norton & Co., 2003); Vice (1999), which won the National Book Award; Greed (1993); Fate (1991); Sin (1986), which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Killing Floor (1979), which was the 1978 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets; and Cruelty (1973).

She also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Fellowship Program at Radcliffe College and from various universities. She was a visiting instructor at Binghamton University, State University of New York for the 1973-74 academic year. She taught at Oklahoma State University and lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma until her death.

Literary views

Ai had considered herself as "simply a writer" rather than a spokesperson for any particular group.

Much of Ai's work was in the form of dramatic monologues. Regarding this tendency, Ai commented:

"My writing of dramatic monologues was a happy accident, because I took so much to heart the opinion of my first poetry teacher, Richard Shelton, the fact that the first person voice was always the stronger voice to use when writing. What began as an experiment in that voice became the only voice in which I wrote for about twenty years. Lately, though, I've been writing poems and short stories using the second person, without, it seems to me, any diminution in the power of my work. Still, I feel that the dramatic monologue was the form in which I was born to write and I love it as passionately, or perhaps more passionately, than I have ever loved a man."

Name change

She legally changed her name to "Ai" (愛), which means "love" in Japanese. She said "Ai is the only name by which I wish, and indeed, should be known. Since I am the child of a scandalous affair my mother had with a Japanese man she met at a streetcar stop, and I was forced to live a lie for so many years, while my mother concealed my natural father's identity from me, I feel that I should not have to be identified with a man, who was only my stepfather, for all eternity."

Reading at the University of Arizona in 1972, Ai said this about her self-chosen name: "I call myself Ai because for a long time I didn't want to use my own name, I didn't like it... it means love in Japanese. But actually I was doing numerology, and A is one and I is ten and together they make eleven, and that means spiritual force and so that was the name I wanted to be under. And it also means the impersonal I, the I of the universe. I was trying to get rid of my ego. I can also write it as an Egyptian Hieroglyph."


The Guggenheim-winning poet died of complications from cancer on March 20, 2010 at age 62, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Poetry collections

  • Cruelty, Perseus Books Group, 1973, ISBN 9780938410386
  • Killing Floor, Houghton Mifflin, 1979, ISBN 9780395275900
  • Sin, Houghton Mifflin, 1986, ISBN 9780395379073
  • Fate, Houghton Mifflin, 1991, ISBN 9780395556375
  • Greed, 1993
  • Vice: New and Selected Poems, Norton, 1999, ISBN 9780393047059 — winner of the National Book Award
  • Dread: Poems, W.W. Norton, 2003, ISBN 9780393041439
  • Why Can't I Leave You?
  • No Surrender. W. W. Norton & Company. 2010. ISBN 9780393078862. 
  • The Collected Poems of Ai. W. W. Norton & Company. 2013. p. 448. ISBN 9780393089202. 
  • References

    Ai (poet) Wikipedia