Honoring Leslie McGrath, Poet & Friend of AWP
August 14, 2020
Leslie McGrath, poet and teacher, passed away on August 6 at age sixty-three, after courageously battling cancer.
Her husband, Bill Taylor, paid tribute to her saying: “Most important, most wonderful, is that Leslie was a poet. I’d argue that most people, forgivably, really don’t understand what that means. It took me a good while to appreciate, I freely admit. But I invite you to Google “Leslie McGrath” and you will be confronted with a full screen of just her: her career as a poetry professor at CCSU, her books, her interviews, her Wikipedia page, her national awards. She was a genuine poet able to play the language as a fine and insistent instrument, inviting you to think in ways that were often unfamiliar and eye-opening but then also shaming you, with great empathy, to discover sometimes very uncomfortable bits about being human that nevertheless leave you happy to now appreciate.
I hate it when the artists among us die. These extraordinary people are our voices, our apologists, our vanguards. They courageously do their best to explore the world at our behest and to report back when they’ve discovered something of great and real value. The only thing we have to do is shut up, sit down and for just a moment, listen and see.”
Leslie was a valued contributor to The Writer’s Chronicle. She will be missed by all at AWP.