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Biography of Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur (1921 - Present)

Richard Wilbur (born March 1, 1921, in New York City) is a United States poet. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942, then fought in Europe during World War II. After a teaching stint at Harvard, he moved to Wesleyan University as Professor of English, a position he occupied there for the rest of his career. He has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and in 1987 was the second poet, after Robert Penn Warren to be named U.S. Poet Laureate.

From the start, Wilbur's poetry was characterized by a formal and refined beauty that was often imitated but never equalled. So formidable are his verse-making skills and his native wit that even the longest and most philosophical of his poems (see "The Mind-Reader" or "Walking to Sleep") carry the reader effortlessly along. It is possible for the average educated reader to finish Wilbur's collected poems at a single sitting, and to find the experience very enjoyable indeed. For this reason, Wilbur is sometimes dismissed as a lightweight or a reactionary. However, it seems likely that his poetry will survive long after his trendier contemporaries have been forgotten. Continuing and refining the tradition of Robert Frost and W. H. Auden, Wilbur's poetry finds illumination in everyday experiences and expresses it in beautiful, carefully wrought language.

Lesser-known was Wilbur's foray into lyric writing. He provided many of the finer lyrical touches in Leonard Bernstein's 1956 musical, Candide.

He is also noted as a translator, particularly of 17th century French dramas, whose original verse forms give Wilbur an opportunity to flex his muscles in both translation and verse. His translations of Molière and Jean Racine are well respected and many are still in print.

Biography by: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Richard Wilbur.

34 Poems written by Richard Wilbur

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

[Volume] | Alphabetically | Page Views | Comments | First Lines


A Plain Song For Comadre
Having Misidentified A Wildflower Comments and analysis of Having Misidentified A Wildflower by Richard Wilbur 18 Comments
A Fable Comments and analysis of A Fable by Richard Wilbur 7 Comments
A World Without Objects is a Sensible Emptiness
Advice to a Prophet
Boy at the Window Comments and analysis of Boy at the Window by Richard Wilbur 137 Comments
Exeunt Comments and analysis of Exeunt by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday Comments and analysis of For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday by Richard Wilbur 6 Comments
In a Churchyard
In the Smoking Car
Juggler Comments and analysis of Juggler by Richard Wilbur 10 Comments
June Light
March 26, 1974 Comments and analysis of March 26, 1974 by Richard Wilbur 3 Comments
Matthew VIII,28 ff. Comments and analysis of Matthew VIII,28 ff. by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
Museum Piece
Orchard Trees, January
Riddle Comments and analysis of Riddle by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
The Prisoner of Zenda
The Riddle
The Ride Comments and analysis of The Ride by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
To the Etruscan Poets Comments and analysis of To the Etruscan Poets by Richard Wilbur 230 Comments
Transit Comments and analysis of Transit by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
Wedding Toast
Worlds Comments and analysis of Worlds by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments

Advice to a Prophet

A Fire-Truck Comments and analysis of A Fire-Truck by Richard Wilbur 9 Comments
A Hole In The Floor Comments and analysis of A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur 3 Comments

The Beautiful Changes

Praise In Summer Comments and analysis of Praise In Summer by Richard Wilbur 5 Comments
The Beautiful Changes Comments and analysis of The Beautiful Changes by Richard Wilbur 11 Comments

The Mind-Reader

The Writer Comments and analysis of The Writer by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments

Things of This World

Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World Comments and analysis of Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment

Books by Richard Wilbur
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Wilbur Info

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