Oral History Interview with Richard Wilbur; Sponsored by the Friends of the Amherst College Library

Interviewed by David Sofield on April 7, 2010

Richard Wilbur, class of 1942 and renowned American poet, was interviewed by David Sofield, former professor of English.


Richard Wilbur, class of 1942 and renowned poet, has won dozens of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize twice, 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 Simpon Lecturer. One of Wilbur's lifelong passions was translation. His renditions range from Moliere and Racine to Akhmatova and Brodsky. In addition to his writing and translating, he taught for 40 years at Harvard, Wellesley, 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, Berbert, Marvell, Milton. He has also served as Wilbur's doubles tennis partner.

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