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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]


First LineComments
A ball will bounce; but less and less. It's not Comments and analysis of Juggler by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
A thrush, because I'd been wrong, Comments and analysis of Having Misidentified A Wildflower by Richard Wilbur 8 Comments
A woman I have never seen before Comments and analysis of Transit by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
At the end a
Blow out the candles of your cake. Comments and analysis of For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
Dream fluently, still brothers, who when young Comments and analysis of To the Etruscan Poets by Richard Wilbur 28 Comments
for Rene Magritte Comments and analysis of A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
For Alexander there was no Far East, Comments and analysis of Worlds by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
I read how Quixote in his random ride
I.
In her room at the prow of the house Comments and analysis of The Writer by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
It is a cramped little state with no foreign policy,
It's not the case, though some might wish it so
Obscurely yet most surely called to praise, Comments and analysis of Praise In Summer by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides Comments and analysis of The Beautiful Changes by Richard Wilbur 8 Comments
Piecemeal the summer dies; Comments and analysis of Exeunt by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
R.Frost 100th B'day Comments and analysis of March 26, 1974 by Richard Wilbur 3 Comments
Rabbi, we Gadarenes Comments and analysis of Matthew VIII,28 ff. by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
Right down the shocked street with a Comments and analysis of A Fire-Truck by Richard Wilbur 3 Comments
Securely sunning in a forest glade, Comments and analysis of A Fable by Richard Wilbur 2 Comments
Seeing the snowman standing all alone Comments and analysis of Boy at the Window by Richard Wilbur 108 Comments
Shall I love God for causing me to be?
Sidling upon the river, the white boat
St. John tells how, at Cana's wedding feast,
That flower unseen, that gem of purest ray,
The eyelids meet. He'll catch a little nap.
The eyes open to a cry of pulleys, Comments and analysis of Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
The good gray guardians of art
The horse beneath me seemed Comments and analysis of The Ride by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
The tall camels of the spirit
Though the unseen may vanish, though insight
When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,
Where far in forest I am laid, Comments and analysis of Riddle by Richard Wilbur 1 Comment
Your voice, with clear location of June days,


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