In Memoriam: Frank Cheney Platt

Frank Cheney Platt, advocate for poetry, poets, literature and writers, dedicated husband and father, died on February 26, in Rockleigh, New Jersey. A resident of Palisades for 25 years, Frank helped grow Poets House, a national poetry library and literary center now headquartered in Battery Park City. Poets House holds over 70,000-volumes of poetry and hosts numerous readings and talks intended to welcome the public into a dynamic discovery of poetry. Frank was committed to arts and culture as a means of protecting and cultivating principles of free speech in an open society. His son Arthur eulogized him as “a four-dimensional juggernaut of life, humor, anxiety, art and love.”

Born in New York City on November 6, 1932, Frank was educated at St. Bernard’s, Dalton, Eaglebrook, Governor’s Academy (formerly Governor Dummer), and Harvard College. He worked in publishing before becoming president of the Farfield Foundation, and later was an assistant Dean for the Columbia University School of the Arts.

Frank was passionate about his family, especially his wife of 55 years, Judy van der Gracht who died in 2013. He described her as “the love of his life.” His poignant dedication to her, especially during her time with Alzheimer’s, inspired respect and admiration from all who knew them.

Frank is survived by his children; Sophie Platt Pollok of Frankfurt, Germany; Arthur van der Gracht Platt of New York City; Roger Platt of Washington, D.C., and by his grandchildren Esther Pollok, Lucas Pollok, Hilary Platt and Benjamin Platt. Donations may be made in Frank’s memory to Poets House and/or to One-to-One Learning