NATIVE AMERICAN POET FLORENCE AI OGAWA DIED
Born on October 21, 1947 in Albany, Texas, she described herself as having Choctaw-Chicasaw, Southern Cheyenne and Comanche heritage, along with black, Japanese and Irish roots. After finishing high school in Tucson, Arizona, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Oriental studies, focusing on Japanese, from the University of Arizona (1969) and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine (1971). Around this time, she learned of her birth-father’s Japanese heritage and changed her middle name to “Ai,” which in Japanese, means “love.” Her 1st collection of poems, “Cruelty,” was published in 1973. She received a National Book Award in 1999 for “Vice: New and Selected Poems.” Her other books include “Sin” (1986), “Fate” (1991), “Greed” (1993), “Dread” (2003), and “No Surrender,” published post-humously (2010). Her work, though not autobiographical, often concerned disenfranchised people. She died from pneumonia in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Source: Margalit Fox, "Ai, an Unflinching Poetic Channel of Hard Lives, Dies at 62," The New York Times, 3/27/2010. Retrieved 1/16/2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/books/28ai.html Photo: Unknown, 2010. Free for use under all conditions pursuant to Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported