William Meredith
Paris Review Interview
On Healing
Address delivered at Harkness Chapel,
Connecticut College, January 1977
The Language of Poetry
    in Defense of Human Speech
The Luck of It
The Reason for Criticism
In Praise of Instinct
Marathon: A Story of Endurance and Friendship (excerpt)
by Richard Harteis
A collection of rare
documents, letters,
and poetry drafts


William Meredith was born in New York City in 1919, was graduated from Princeton in 1940 and served as a naval aviator during the Second World War and the Korean Conflict. His first book of poems, LOVE LETTER FROM AN IMPOSSIBLE LAND, was chosen by Archibald MacLeish, in 1944, for the Yale Series of Younger Poets; the title poem had been written the year before, in the Aleutians Islands; SHIPS AND OTHER FIGURES, his second book of verse, was published in Princeton in 1948. THE OPEN SEA AND OTHER POEMS (1958), THE WRECK OF THE THRESHER AND OTHER POEMS (1964), EARTH WALK: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (1970), HAZARD THE PAINTER (1975), THE CHEER (1980), and PARTIAL ACCOUNTS (1988) were published by Knopf. POETS OF BULGARIA (1986) was published by Unicorn Press and EFFORT AT SPEECH, SELECTED POEMS (1994) was published by Orpheus House, Sofia and Paris. He has translated a number of Bulgarian poets, and in 1964 translated Guillaume Appollinaire's ALCOOLS: Poems 1898-1913.

PARTIAL ACCOUNTS won the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book award in 1988 and his work has received much recognition in previous years. William Meredith has won three of Poetry's annual prizes and a grant from the Loines Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he became a member in 1968. He is a Chancellor Emeritus of the Academy of American Poets where he has served since 1964 and from 1978 through 1980 he has served as the Consultant to Poetry to the Library of Congress. In 1980 he was awarded the International Vaptsarov Prize in Poetry, and in 1984 a senior fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has taught at Princeton, the University of Hawaii, Middlebury College, Breadloaf, and Carnegie-Mellon University, but has been primarily associated with Connecticut College since 1955. He retired from Connecticut College in 1984 after a stroke, but continues to read his work and teach at poetry conferences and colleges across the United States. He has received honorary doctorates from Carnegie-Mellon University, Middlebury, and Connecticut Colleges and was honored in a special tribute by the Academy of American Poetry at the New York Historical Society in 1989. In 1994 he was presented with the Westport, Connecticut Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature.

EFFORT AT SPEECH, New and Selected Poems was published by Northwestern University Press in 1997 and won the National Book Award for Poetry that year. THE WHITE ISLAND was published in 1998 by E. Niagolova House, Varna, Bulgaria (Distributed in the United States by Carnegie-Mellon University Press.) Many awards have followed the publication of his latest EFFORT AT SPEECH, including a fourth honorary Ph.D. which was given by the American University in Bulgaria May 10, 1998. On January 9, 1999 he was awarded a fifth Doctoral degree, Honoris Causa, from the Slavonic University in Sofia, Bulgaria.

*Multimedia Items Available in STREAMING VIDEO
All photos and letters courtesy of the William Meredith Collection, Connecticut College.