Richard Wilbur: Poems Background

Richard Wilbur: Poems Background

Richard Wilbur was a poet whose works were elegant yet witty and paradoxical. He was the second poet laureate of the United States, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for his collection Things of This World: Poems in 1957, and then won another Pulitzer prize for New and Collected Poems. His poetry collections have won countless other prizes, honors, and fellowships; it is safe to say that his poetry is highly regarded by almost all who read them. Wilbur’s grandfather and great-grandfather were both editors, and he was a writer early on. As a soldier in WWII, he wrote much, but turned to poetry to organize his thoughts and the world, and his focus on patterns and order at first hindered his ability to really channel emotions in his writing.

In his poems, Richard Wilbur displays and considers some beliefs that were challenged by WWII, such as the power of love over hate, the wisdom and comfort of nature, and the creative and peaceful nature of man. Even though he could not reconcile his ideals and his reality in his mind, Wilbur still wrote poems because of the energy that was organized into shapes and patterns. As a result, his poetry is very reflective, emotionally controlled, and optimistic.

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