Peter Davison Interviews Richard Wilbur: From The Atlantic Archives

More

Longtime Atlantic poetry editor Peter Davison spoke with Pulitzer prize-winning poet Richard Wilbur back in 1999. They discussed Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, and the business of poetry.

In honor of National Poetry Month, here's a look at part of their exchange:

You have spent a lifetime in poetry now. What are you most grateful to poetry for?

I'm grateful to all of the poets of the past who have delighted me, and who gave me a feeling that I wanted to do something like that. And if there is a muse, I'm grateful to the muse for the occasional experience of making something as good as I wanted it to be.

And in your life—how are you grateful to poetry?

It happens that I like performing poetry. I really do like trotting around the country and reading poems to audiences, because I've gotten good at it over a period of time. Initially I had hysterical sore throats and muttered at my audiences, but I have gotten to be, within my limits, a showman, and I do enjoy that. I also enjoy being able to do something with the important feelings of my life. I think that to be inarticulate can be a great suffering, and I'm glad that my loves, and my other feelings, have sometimes found their way into poems that fully express them.

Read the entire interview, "Richard Wilbur: A Certain Logic."

See all of The Atlantic's Richard Wilbur coverage.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Death of Film: After Hollywood Goes Digital, What Happens to Movies?

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In