Fifteenth Annual West Chester University Poetry Conference

June 10-13, 2009
Michael Peich, Director, Jamie Smith, Associate Director,

Richard Wilbur Keynote Speaker

Richard Wilbur has received many awards in his career. Most notable are the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2006, two National Book Awards, and the Bollingen Translation Prize. He has also served as the Poet Laureate of the United States and is the only living American poet to have won the Pulitzer Prize twice, first for his third book of poetry, Things of This World (1956) and also for New and Collected Poems (1989.)

Born in 1921 in New York City, Wilbur grew up in North Caldwell, New Jersey after his family moved there in 1923. He later attended Amherst College where he majored in English. While in college, he met Charlotte “Charlee” Ward at Amherst’s “sister school,” Smith College, and they married in 1942. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Wilbur attended Harvard Graduate School and received his Master’s Degree in 1947. He remained as a Junior Fellow and then joined the Harvard faculty in 1950. Just after his graduation at the age of 26, he published his first book, The Beautiful Changes and Other Poems. It received exceptional reviews and critics praised Wilbur as a gifted writer of the “war generation.” Along with his award winning poetry, Wilbur also spent forty years translating Molière’s major comedies, which have been staged across the country. Wilbur currently resides in Cummington, Massachusetts and Key West, Florida.

by Richard Wilbur at:

Poetry House
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383