Biography of Richard Eberhart
Richard Ghormley Eberhart (April 5, 1904 – June 9, 2005) was an American poet who published more than a dozen books of poetry and approximately twenty works in total. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Selected Poems, 1930–1965 and the 1977 National Book Award for Poetry for Collected Poems, 1930–1976.
Eberhart was born in 1904 in Austin, a small city in southeast Minnesota. He grew up on a 40 acres (16 ha) estate called Burr Oaks, since partitioned into hundreds of residential lots. He published a volume of poetry called Burr Oaks in 1947, and many of his poems reflect his youth in rural America.
Eberhart began college at the University of Minnesota, but following his mother's death from cancer in 1921—the event that prompted him to begin writing poetry—he transferred to Dartmouth College. After graduation he worked as a ship's hand, among other jobs, then studied at St. John's College, Cambridge, where I.A. Richards encouraged him to continue writing poetry, and where he took a further degree. After serving as private tutor to the son of King Prajadhipok of Siam in 1931–1932, Eberhart pursued graduate study for a year at Harvard University.
His first book of poetry A Bravery of Earth was published in London in 1930. It reflected his experiences in Cambridge and his experience as a ship's hand. Reading the Spirit published in 1937 contains one of his best known poems "The Groundhog".
He taught for eight years at the St. Mark's School (1933–1941), where Robert Lowell was one of his students. In 1941 he married Helen Butcher. They had two children.
Richard Eberhart Poems
I The spider expects the cold of winter. When the shadows fall in long Autumn He congeals in a nest of paper, prepares
The Hard Structure Of The World
Is made up of reservoirs, Birds flying South, mailmen Snow falling or rain falling,
A New England Bachelor
My death was arranged by special plans in Heaven And only occasioned comment by ten persons in Adams, Massachusetts. The best thing ever said about me Was that I was deft at specifying trump.
I stood out in the open cold To see the essence of the eclipse Which was its perfect darkness.
The Fury of Aerial Bombardment
You would think the fury of aerial bombardment Would rouse God to relent; the infinite spaces Are still silent. He looks on shock-pried faces. History, even, does not know what is meant.
In June, amid the golden fields, I saw a groundhog lying dead. Dead lay he; my senses shook, And mind outshot our naked frailty.
I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.
I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.