just_above_the_water.jpg

Conversations with Richard Wilbur

Edited by William Butts

266 pp.

0878054251 Paper $25.00D

Paper, $25.00

With wit, charm, and grace the interviews in this collection demonstrate what readers of Wilbur's poems long have suspected: that this former U.S. poet laureate is no less persuasive and forceful in extemporaneous speech than he is in verse and prose.

Wilbur proves as enlightening and thought-provoking with student reporters from Amherst College, his alma mater, as with journalists for THE PARIS REVIEW, displaying the same dazzling talents that garnered him the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and again thirty years later.

Opinionated yet ever-charitable, he presents the case for rhyme and meter in a dozen different ways in just as many interviews. He expresses a degree of admiration for poetic opposites such as Allen Ginsberg and addresses the objections of his critics.

Wilbur's comments and keen insights on his coevals and his craft read as articulately as fine prose. His observations never fail to stimulate or to challenge.

266 pp.