On January 9, 2019 William Meredith will have been 100 years old. Too often, when the great ones die, they simply fall off the planet, but the foundation named for him will continue to carry on Meredith's legacy in American culture through educational programs and the publication of an annual poetry prize in his name. Throughout the year, we will host a series of important poetry events and establish an award for translation in honor of William's translator, Valentin Krustev. We also plan to launch a 2019 memorial calendar featuring archival photos from the Mystic Seaport with William’s poems superimposed on the images. The work on this beautiful calendar is well under way, and only requires funding now to go into production. These calendars will be offered as a gift to sponsors and any profits will go to supporting the activities of the foundation. Our deadline for completion is September 1, 2018. (We are a 501.c3 non profit and any contribution is fully tax deductible.)
William served as a naval aviator in WWII and the Korean Conflict, was a beloved teacher at Connecticut College for nearly four decades and served as US Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress from 1979-81. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the National Book Award, all of which came after the challenges of a major stroke. His work has received many additional American and international awards including numerous honorary Ph.D's. He has served as Chancellor and Director of the Academy of American Poetry. In 1996, he was accorded Bulgarian citizenship by President Zhelu Zhelev for the bridge he created between our two countries' artists.
His has been an extraordinary life and it is our great hope that friends and lovers of poetry will join in celebrating this great American spirit. A short poem by Meredith perhaps summarizes the man and his philosophy best:
A Major Work
Poems are hard to read
Pictures are hard to see
Music is hard to hear
And people are hard to love.
But whether from brute need
Or diving energy.
At last, mind eye and ear
And the great sloth heart will move.
USEFUL LINKS TO MEREDITH’S LIFE AND WORK
AND THAT OF THE FOUNDATION
Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Bulgarian National TV account of travel to Rila Monastery in Bulgaria with Meredith’s ashes:
Meredith Foundation film describing its work:
Original Ballet production at William’s home:
Drunken Boat- In depth feature article on Meredith in a fine on-line literary magazine:
Connecticut College webpage with full accounting of his life, works, etc.
William reading his poem,"Crossing Over" circa 1964:
Meredith page from the Academy of American Poets:
The Poetry Foundation page on Meredith:
Wikipedia page for Meredith:
YouTube account of First Meredith Award for Poetry
given to David Fisher:
YouTube clip of Gray Jacobik reading from her 2016 William Meredith Award winning book, THE BANQUET:
William Meredith reading his poem "Parents":
- Tom Kirlin
- Bill Barrett
- Edward Wilson
- barbara Goldberg
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