Wilbur, Richard

Wilbur, Richard,

1921–, American poet and translator, b. New York City, grad. Amherst (B.A., 1942) and Harvard (M.A., 1947). A virtuoso craftsman who writes gracefully in traditional verse forms, Wilbur is always original and generally affirmative in his view of the world, and can be profound and witty, playful and intellectual. His volumes of verse include The Beautiful Changes (1947), Ceremony (1950), Things of This World (1956; Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award), Advice to a Prophet (1961), The Mind Reader (1976), New and Collected Poems (1988; Pulitzer Prize), Mayflies (2000), and Anterooms (2010). Opposites (1973) is a collection of his poems for children, and Responses (1976) and The Catbird's Song (1997) are collections of his prose pieces. Wilbur was America's poet laureate from 1987 to 1988. He has translated MolièreMolière, Jean Baptiste Poquelin
, 1622–73, French playwright and actor, b. Paris; son of a merchant who was upholsterer to the king. His name was originally Jean Baptiste Poquelin.
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's The Misanthrope (1955), Tartuffe (1963), and The School for Wives (1972) and other classic French drama. With Lillian HellmanHellman, Lillian,
1905–84, American dramatist, b. New Orleans. Her plays, although often melodramatic, are marked by intelligence and craftsmanship. The Children's Hour
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, he wrote the libretto for Leonard BernsteinBernstein, Leonard
, 1918–90, American composer, conductor, and pianist, b. Lawrence, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1939, and Curtis Institute of Music, 1941. A highly versatile musician, he was the composer of symphonic works (the Jeremiah Symphony, 1944;
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's musical version of Voltaire's Candide (1957). Wilbur is also an editor and teacher.


See his Collected Poems 1943–2004 (2004); studies by D. L. Hill (1967) and W. Salinger, ed. (1983); bibliography by F. Bixler (1991).

Wilbur, Richard (Purdy)

(1921–  ) poet, writer; born in New York City. He studied at Amherst (B.A. 1942), and Harvard (M.A. 1947) and taught at many institutions, notably Wesleyan (1957–77). Based in Cummington, Mass., he won acclaim for his poetry translations as well as for his own elegant lyrical poetry, as in New and Collected Poems (1988). He is also widely known for his often performed translations of Molière and for his lyrics to the musical Candide (1956). He was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 1987.
References in periodicals archive ?
In chapters on Bishop, Randall Jarrell, Richard Wilbur, Richard Howard, Robert Pinsky, Amy Clampitt, John Ashbery, and Jorie Graham, Longenbach shows how quite various poets mined a much wider and more variegated vein of modernism than our reductive histories recall.