The Life And Work Of Richard Wilbur: A Great American Poet

1201 words - 5 pages

This Thesis report covers Richards life, literary period and an interpretation of his works.Richard Wilbur:A Great American PoetRichard Wilbur used rhyme, rhythm, and vivid description to implant acolorful, clear, and almost interactive images. He is a post-modern writer whohad a direct, formal and yet light-hearted and playful writing style.Richard Wilbur was born in New York, New York on March 1, 1921. As hegrew he attended many colleges and universities the first being Amherst wherehe graduated with a B.A. and was the college newspaper editor. After leavingAmherst he enlisted in the Army where he was in training to be an Armycryptographer until demoted to a front-line infantry position. During his time inthe Army Richard saw action in Italy ,France, and Germany; he also filled heposition of Army cryptographer when the one in his unit was killed (UniversityPress of Florida, 1996).When demobilized he went back to school, in 1947 where he received hisM.A. from Harvard University, the same year his first book, The BeautifulChanges, was published. At that time Wilbur became a member of the HarvardFellows and taught there until he moved to Wellesley in 1954. From Wellesleyhe then went on to Wesleyan University. He was a contributory factor to thefounding of the Wesleyan University Press Poetry Series, which featured suchpoets as Robert Bly, James Wright, Louis Simpson, and Barbara Howes. Afterleaving Wesleyan he went to Smith College as a writer-in-residence(UniversityPress of Florida, 1996). He stopped teaching and while still writing originalpieces Richard Wilbur began translation in 1955. He translated works from poetslike Moliere, Racine, and Leonard Bernstien; from French, Spanish, and Russianinto English. In order to be called a great American poet one would have to writeaward winning pieces, which Richard Wilbur has done more than once.Richard's third collection of poems titled Things of This World, won him thePulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. While Walking to Sleep wasawarded the Bollingen Prize two books later.Back in the early and mid nineteen-hundreds there were a number ofmajor events happening. Richard Wilbur saw action in World War II where heheld a front-line infantry position. Wilbur also filled in the place of the Armycryptographer when the one in his company died. I can tell this affected hiswriting because he wrote many poems about human nature and sometimes evenended his poems with morals. Like when he wrote about the bonds that bulliesand cowards form during there shaky relationships, "The bully focuses thecoward's fears; The grateful coward weeps the bully's tears." That was anexcerpt from Richard Wilbur's poem Bonds featured in his collection of poemscalled Mayflies. Another major event was a type of literary movement. Most ofthe poets born around the time he was born underwent dramatic changes in theirwriting styles, Wilbur, though remained someone who mastered a style early andmade it a permanent one.Richard Wilbur...

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