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Richard Wilbur

(March 1, 1921)

Richard Wilbur
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Richard Purdy Wilbur is an American poet and literary translator. He was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1987, and twice received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1957 and again in 1989.

Biography

Early years

Wilbur was born in New York City and grew up in North Caldwell, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair High School in 1938, having worked on the school newspaper as a student there. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942 and then served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. After the Army and graduate school at Harvard University, Wilbur taught at Wesleyan University ... more »

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  • Bronze Star - 5,747 Points Frank Avon (10/28/2014 2:43:00 AM)

    I wish you could include 'Digging for China' in your PH list. It's delightful for children, humorous for adults, and clever for poets themselves. It pairs well with Elizabeth Bishop's fish, as unlike as they are (as one of my students pointed out to me): if you read them both, you'll see why. Regrettably it makes reference to 'a coolie, ' which in the political correctness of our day would make it highly objectionable, but one should remember the era in which it was wirtten (1956) . Here are its lush climactic lines: '... the earth went round / And showed me silver barns, the fields dozing / In palls of brightness, patens growing and gone / In the tides of leaves, and the whole sky china blue.' But you have to read to the last line to get the surprise and the witty point of the poem.

  • Veteran Poet - 2,834 Points Saiom Shriver (3/31/2012 12:56:00 PM)

    The following is my favorite Richard Wilbur poem. It awakened my love of poetry, especially the first stanza.
    Many of us would be grateful if you added it to your Wilbur collection.

    Two Voices in a Meadow – Richard Wilbur


    A Milkweed

    Anonymous as cherubs
    Over the crib of God,
    White seeds are floating
    Out of my burst pod.
    What power had I
    Before I learned to yield?
    Shatter me, great wind:
    I shall possess the field

    A Stone

    As casual as cow-dung
    Under the rib of God,
    I lie where chance would have me,
    Up to the ears in sod.
    Why should I move? To move
    Befits a light desire.
    The sill of heaven would founder,
    Did such as I aspire.

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