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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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Quotations

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  • ''As near and far as grass,
    Where eyes become the sunlight, and the hand
    Is worthy of water: the dreamt land
    Toward which all hungers leap, all pleasures pass.''
    Richard Wilbur (b. 1921), U.S. poet. A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra (l. 56-60). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Al...
  • ''—the main jet
    Struggling aloft unti it seems at rest

    In the act of rising, until
    The very wish of water is reversed,''
    Richard Wilbur (b. 1921), U.S. poet. A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra (l. 31-34). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Al...
  • ''A barn shall harbour heaven,
    A stall become a shrine.''
    Richard Wilbur (b. 1921), U.S. poet. A Christmas Hymn (l. 7-8). . . Oxford Book of Christmas Poems, The. Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-C...
  • ''And every stone shall cry,
    In praises of the child
    By whose descent among us
    The worlds are reconciled.''
    Richard Wilbur (b. 1921), U.S. poet. A Christmas Hymn (l. 29-32). . . Oxford Book of Christmas Poems, The. Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart...
  • Ask us, ask us whether with the worldless rose
    Our hearts shall fail us; come demanding
    Whether there shall be lofty or long standing
    When the bronze annals of the oak-tree close....
    Richard Wilbur (b. 1921), U.S. poet. Advice to a Prophet (l. 33-36). . . Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse, The, 1945-1980. D. J. Enright, comp. (...
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Comments about Richard Wilbur

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  • 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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