Anne Porter, Renowned Poet And Wife Of Artist Fairfield Porter, Dies At 99 - 27 East

Anne Porter, Renowned Poet And Wife Of Artist Fairfield Porter, Dies At 99

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author on Oct 11, 2011

Anne E. Porter

Anne Elizabeth Porter, longtime resident of Southampton, renowned poet and wife of the late artist Fairfield Porter, died at her home in Hampton Bays on Monday, October 10. She was 99.

Born November 6, 1911, in Sherborn, Massachusetts, Ms. Porter grew up with a love of poetry. Her mother always read poems to her children, which “gave us the idea that poetry was perfectly natural,” Ms. Porter said in 2006. Before she could write or spell, her great-uncle Laurence Minot would write down her poems and illustrate them.

With such an innate ability for poetry, it was no surprise that in 1994, at age 83, that her book of poems, “An Altogether Different Language: Poems 1934-1994” was nominated for a National Book Award. In 2006, she added 44 new poems to the book and renamed it “Living Things.”

Her poems were largely spiritual in nature, almost meditations on Bible verses, hymns and prayers. It seemed her upbringing in Sherborn instilled in her an attentiveness to nature and to the beauty of the world around her. Poems such as “Living Things,” and “Easter Lily,” call upon the natural world to express a deep love and appreciation for life.

Ms. Porter often posed for her late husband’s paintings, usually in the setting of their kitchen, living room or backyard. As any artist, Mr. Porter had a wide circle of friends visit their home, among them, poets Frank O’Hara and James Schuyler.

Continuing to write throughout her later years, Ms. Porter moved to Hampton Bays to live with her daughter.

She is survived by her children, Laurence Porter of Michigan, Richard Porter of Colorado, Dr. Katharine Porter of Illinois, and Elizabeth Porter Balzer of Hampton Bays; and seven grandchildren.

Visitation will take place Wednesday, October 12, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at O’Connell Funeral Home in Southampton. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, October 13, at 9:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Rosalie in Hampton Bays. Interment will follow at Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Cemetery in Southampton.

Visitors are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for collection during visitation hours and at St. Rosalie’s Church in memory of Ms. Porter.

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