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R.I.P Mildred Vorpahl Baass

By Harriet Staff

Former poet laureate of Texas Mildred Vorpahl Baass passed on November 4th. She was 95.

From Victoria Advocate:

She lived through the Great Depression, served behind the front lines in World War II, was widowed, remarried and a mother to two daughters.

And Mildred Vorpahl Baass, Poet Laureate of Texas from 1993 to 1995, wrote about it all.

“The world is so beautiful. There is poetry everywhere. And I am from the school of poetic expression that feels poetry should express beauty, should not be base or vulgar,” she said in the Stoneflower Literary Journal, Volume 1.

Baass, of Victoria, died on Nov. 4 at age 95, still writing poetry, said her daughter, Nancy Baass.

She wrote poems in a variety of styles, from free-verse to sonnets, and wrote on multiple subjects, from the horrors of war to sea shells on Padre Island.

“That is what poetry she said was all about, was trying to reach people and to express experiences that we all share, and to put it into words that are poetic,” her daughter said.

Nancy Baass said they traveled all over Texas and the United States after she was named Poet Laureate, living up to her mother’s slogan, “Have poem, will travel.”

“We called it our poetic great adventure,” her daughter said. “We went all over Texas – towns we had never heard of.”

She said they even bought a Winnebago to make life on the road easier, going as far away as Pennsylvania for Baass to speak.

Carol Sowa, Baass’ oldest daughter, said her mother’s death will leave a gap in the family.

“She was a wonderful, vibrant person that always had a sense of wonder and excitement for a variety of things in life,” Sowa said. “When we went on family vacations, we always had to stop at every historical site … and explore things.”

Full obit here.

Posted in Poetry News on Friday, November 16th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.