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.
In June, amid the golden fields,
I saw a groundhog lying dead.
Dead lay he; my senses shook,
And mind outshot our naked frailty.
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.
I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.
The spider expects the cold of winter.
When the shadows fall in long Autumn
He congeals in a nest of paper, prepares