Richard Wilbur was interviewed by David Sofield on April 7, 2010. Excerpts from the interview are below. Copies of the interview on DVD are in the open stack video collection of the Frost Library for borrowing, and are available for viewing in Archives and Special Collections or for purchase on request.
Richard Wilbur, Class of 1942, has won dozens of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize twice (the only living poet so honored), the National Book Award, and the Wallace Stevens Prize. He has written Broadway show lyrics, most notably Candide, a collaboration with Lillian Hellman and Leonard Bernstein. He's also published two collections of critical essays, and a number of children's books. In the fall of 2008, he returned to his alma mater to teach as the John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer. One of Wilbur's lifelong passions is translation. His renditions range from Moliere and Racine, to Akhmatova and Brodsky. In addtion to his writing and translating, he taught for forty years at Harvard, Wellsley, Wesleyan, and Smith.
David Sofield, Samuel Williston Professor of English, has taught English and creative writing at Amherst since 1965. His own debut collection of poems entitled Light Disguise was published in 2003. In the fall of 2009, he and Richard Wilbur co-taught a new seminar titled Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Milton. He has also served as Wilbur's doubles tennis partner.