With her family by her side, Laura Boss died on April 9, 2021, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Brooklyn on April 20, 1938, Laura grew up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and received her undergraduate degree (summa cum laude) and master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Laura was an award-winning poet. She was a first prize winner in the Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. She was the sole representative of the United States at the XXVI Annual International Struga Poetry Readings in Yugoslavia. Awards for her writing also include an American Literary Translators Award (funded through the National Endowment for the Arts), and three Fellowships in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She received the first International Poetry Award at the International Poetry Festival at Swansea, Wales (sponsored by Cross-Cultural Communications and Seventh Quarry Magazine of Wales).
Her seven collections of poetry include Stripping (Chantry Press, 1982), and the award-winning On the Edge of the Hudson (Cross-Cultural Communications, 1986). Her book, Reports from the Front (CCC, 1995) was nominated for an American Book Award. Arms: New and Selected Work (1999) and Flashlight (2011) are both published by Guernica. The Best Lover was, published by New York Quarterly in 2017. Her forthcoming book, Family Promises, also be published by New York Quarterly, is due out later this year.
Her poetry has appeared in The New York Times and in the anthology The Poets of New Jersey: From Colonial to Contemporary (Jersey Shore Publications). In 1998, her manuscript was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award.
Laura was the founder and Editor of Lips poetry magazine which has been in continuous existence for forty years. She was proud to include in Lips works by well-known poets like Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Robert Bly, Marge Piercy, and Ishmael Reed, but was even more excited about providing an opportunity for new poets to be published.
She read her work at the United Nations, the Dodge Poetry Festival, Princeton University, the New York Public Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, and numerous other venues.
A long-time Dodge Poet, Laura led sessions for many years in their “Spring & Fountain” program for teachers.
In 2014, Laura co-edited with John Gallaher, Time Is a Toy: Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt (University of Akron).
In addition to her writing, she spent countless hours inspiring and mentoring other poets, often with her good friend and award-winning poet, Maria Mazziotti Gillan.
She is survived by many loved ones and friends including her brother, Alan Ziegler (Anne-Marie) and her son, Barry Boss (Cathy). She took great pride in her grandchildren Amanda Boss (Tam), Bianca Boss, Teddy Boss, and Marley Boss. She loved her daughter-in-law, Valerie Boss, as if she were her own daughter, and shared a close relationship with her niece, Alona (Jason). She also was close with her cousins, Howard and Sheila Rakowsky, Jeff and Genie Hersh, and her many friends both within and outside of the poetry world. She was predeceased by her second husband, Dr. James Schroeder, and her son, Jeffrey Boss.
To honor her memory, the Laura Boss Poetry Foundation will provide financial support to the literary arts, and in particular, poetry. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please consider a contribution to the Foundation. In its initial stage (and until the Foundation obtains its tax-exempt status), we request that contributions be made through the New York Quarterly Foundation in memory of Laura Boss. A significant portion of those contributions will be passed on to the Laura Boss Poetry Foundation. Contributions can be made via the Donate page at www.laurabosspoetryfoundation.org