The Catbird's Song: Prose Pieces, 1963-1995

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Harcourt Brace, 1997 - Literary Collections - 242 pages
The Catbird's Song is a selection of prose pieces, on a variety of topics, by one of the most distinguished poets and translators of our times, Richard Wilbur. These lectures, letters, reviews, addresses, prefaces, and interviews-what Wilbur calls the "prose by-products of a poet's life"-not only reveal the ideas and concerns that inform his remarkable oeuvre but also offer fresh takes on the works and lives of poets we thought we knew, poets we ought to know, and much more. Here, then, are his appreciations of Poe, Milton, Tennyson, and Longfellow; paeans to his contemporaries Elizabeth Bishop, Mae Swenson, and John Ciardi; an introduction to the work of the neglected poet Witter Bynner; his comments on some of his own poems; and thoughts on the art of translation. Throughout all, Wilbur's voice resonates with clarity, reason, and authority.

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Contents

Poe and the Art of Suggestion
7
Longfellow
26
May Swenson
56
Copyright

8 other sections not shown

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About the author (1997)

Richard Purdy Wilbur was born in New York City on March 1, 1921. He received a bachelor's degree from Amherst College in 1942. During Word War II, he was a combat soldier in Europe. He received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1947. He taught at Harvard University, Wesleyan University, Smith College, and Amherst College. His first collection, The Beautiful Changes, was published in 1947. His other collections of poetry included The Mind-Reader and Anterooms. In 1957, he received the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for Things of This World. He received a second Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for New and Collected Poems. He became the second poet laureate of the United States in 1987-88 and received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2006. He also wrote and illustrated several children's books and wrote lyrics for opera and musical theater productions including Leonard Bernstein's Candide. He was a translator of poems and other works from the French, Spanish, and Russian, including the plays of Molière and Jean Racine. He was the co-recipient of the Bollingen Translation Prize in 1963. He died on October 14, 2017 at the age of 96.

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