William Meredith (1919-2007)

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William Meredith (1919-2007) wrote 10 books of poetry and two books of prose. He also edited two poetry books and translated one poetry book. After graduating from Princeton University, he was a journalist for ''The New York Times'' before joining the U.S. Air Force for a year. He then served as a carrier pilot for the U.S. Navy, earning the status of lieutenant. His first poetry book, called ''Love Letter from an Impossible Land'' (1944) was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets while he was in service. While he was in the Navy Reserves, Meredith went on to teach English at Princeton University, where he was Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Writing and Resident Fellow in Creative Writing. In 1948, he began teaching English at the University of Hawaii until he went back in the Navy service as a pilot in the Korean War. During this time, he earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was given two Air Medals. In 1964, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Meredith also served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1978 to 1980. His book ''Effort at Speech'' (1997) won the National Book Award, and his book ''Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems'' (1987) won both the ''Los Angeles Times'' Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. His other honors were the Loines Award and a grant from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, the International Vaptsarov Prize in Poetry, a grant and senior fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two Rockefeller Foundation grants. Meredith suffered a stroke and the resulting expressive aphasia made it impossible for him to speak. He was granted honorary citizenship in Bulgaria by decree of the President Zhelev in 1996, and he often traveled between Connecticut and Bulgaria until his death in 2007. Meredith’s poetry often looks at the horrors of war that he saw but is still hopeful toward the world rather than bitter. A few more of his poetry titles included ''Ships and Other Figures'' (1948), ''Earth Walk: New and Selected Poems'' (1970), ''The Cheer'' (1980), and ''Dreams of Suicide'' (1980). http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/121 AND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Morris_Meredith,_Jr.#Poetry DC Writers' Homes: http://dcwriters.poetrymutual.org/pages/meredithw.html

Written by Word Works intern Monica Root, December 2013.

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