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Elise Asher, 92; Poet, Painter Mixed Verse With Illustration

March 14, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Elise Asher, 92, a poet and painter who was known for her ability to mix verse with illustration, died March 7 at her home in New York City of complications from a broken hip.

Asher, the wife of Stanley Kunitz, a former poet laureate of the United States, was born in Chicago and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. She graduated from the Simmons School of Social Work in Boston before moving to New York City in 1947.

Her abstract work consisted of poetry rendered on canvas with oil or acrylics on plexiglass. In other works, she described objects in poetic verse.

Asher began showing her work in 1953 with a one-woman show at the Tanager Gallery in New York City. Her work is included in more than a dozen public collections, including the Corcoran Gallery in New York and the National Academy of Sciences.

Her poetry has been published in the Partisan Review and other periodicals. Her published works include "The Meandering Absolute," a collection of poetry that came out in 1955; "The Visionary Gleam: Texts and Transformations," a collection of her poetry and paintings that came out in 1994; and "Night Train," also a collection of her poetry.

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