Submitted by Rachel Brickman Atkinson on Wednesday, 10/12/2011, at 10:38 AM

In general terms, an epic is a grandiose literary history of a people. This usually includes founding stories, battles, and etiologies. Although the components of these tales may seem absurd at the moment in which they are set and/or created, truly successful epics transcend eras and become accepted in times far removed from their inception points. Oftentimes, myths accompany epics as driving forces or scapegoats for the more extreme aspects of the stories. Epics that survive their inception describe ideologies that are bigger than the epics themselves.

Richard Wilbur: A Poet Turns 90

Students, professors honor Richard Wilbur at poetry reading

It was not a typical 90th birthday party, but Richard Wilbur ’42 is hardly a typical 90-year-old. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate, Wilbur holds the same teaching position at Amherst that Robert Frost once did. To celebrate his becoming a nonagenarian, a poetry reading seemed only fitting.


Attic Boxes

© Tess Taylor '00

Unsettled now, they scatter open—
inner chaos lifelike as odd birds.

They hold alibis & chatter, whir
of windows. Initials on a tarnished pitcher.  

Spidery pencil, Minneapolis, 1867. “Dear friend Lulu:
A cold wind whips this barren prairie.”

Bombay 1927: “I was presiding at the high school Jubilee:
the speaker referred to me as missionary Patriarch—”

1913: Helen’s verses to dawn on the Lusitania.
Helen crazed in Brussels and the Pater