From the Star Tribune:

It is nature, poet John Caddy says, that saved him when he was young and escaping a rough life on Minnesota's Iron Range. And it is nature that saves him now, 17 years after a stroke paralyzed his left side and left him with a non-working arm, difficulty speaking and short-term memory loss.

The view out the window, he said, is "what saved my life."

For 50 years, Caddy has honored the natural world in his poetry, teaching and writing. Now the McKnight Foundation has honored Caddy with its Distinguished Artist Award. In its 15th year, the prestigious honor, which has gone to writers Robert Bly and Bill Holm, theater artist Lou Bellamy, painter Mike Lynch and others, carries a $50,000 honorarium.

"It's totally unexpected, and quite fun," Caddy said Tuesday morning from his home in Forest Lake. "I never expected any kind of award again. Poets never expect awards."

Caddy, 74, is the author of five books, including "The Color of Mesabi Bones," which won both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Minnesota Book Award. He has also been honored with the Sally Ordway Irvine Award for Arts Education, a Bush Foundation fellowship, and a McKnight Artist Fellowship.

More on Caddy's life and work after the jump.

Originally Published: May 17th, 2012
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