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.