The critically acclaimed poet Ai has died at age 62.
Ai (pictured, via) was born Florence Anthony, but changed her name to Ai–naming herself after the Japanese word for “love.” Over the course of her productive career, Ai won the National Book Award for her poetry. The Poetry Foundation has an excellent selection of her work.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Ai at the National Book Foundation: “[P]oetry students (including me) carried Body Rags [by Galway Kinnel] around as if it were holy script, as if it were a sacred guide to the writing life. I remember feeling as if I had some amulet against the unpoetic mundane world I inhabited in my everyday undergraduate life. I thought if a book could make such a difference, perhaps one day, if I persevered and was lucky enough to write one, I too could be an inspiration to someone and that feeling encouraged me to keep writing.”