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Ruth Stone was born in Virginia in 1915, and has lived in rural Vermont for much of her life. In 1959, after her husband committed suicide, she had to raise three daughters alone, all the time writing what she called her "love poems, all written to a dead man" who forced her to "reside in limbo" with her daughters. For 20 years she travelled the US, teaching creative writing at many universities. A greatly loved teacher, she was still working into her 80s. She has won many awards and honours, including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Eric Mathieu King Award from the Academy of American Poets, a Whiting Award (with which she bought plumbing for her house), two Guggenheim Fellowships (one of which roofed the house), the Delmore Schwartz Award, the Cerf Lifetime Achievement Award from the state of Vermont, and the Shelley Memorial Award. Her retrospective What Love Comes To: New & Selected Poems was published in 2008 by in the US Copper Canyon, the Bloodaxe UK edition in 2009.