Celebrating William Meredith
Connecticut College honored the legacy of William Meredith on April 12 with readings and reflections from Meredith’s former colleagues, friends and former students, as well as by alumni writers.
Meredith was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1988 for his collection “Partial Accounts.” He was a professor of English at Connecticut College from 1955 to 1983 and was awarded the College Medal, the College’s highest honor, in 1996. He was named a professor emeritus upon retirement in 1983 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1988.
Meredith was the author of 11 collections of poetry, a prose collection, and more than 100 appearances in anthologies, other books and journals. In 1987, he won the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1997 for his collection “Effort at Speech.”
“From Meredith I learned something about decorum, about the necessity to be truthful, to avoid glibness. That language is sacred because it encapsulates the history of a people. And that poems serve the important function of refreshing and renewing language,” said the poet Michael Collier ’76, who delivered the opening remarks.
“I learned as well that there’s a connection between the poet’s life and work that is essential for both the integrity of the life and the work. Poetry is enriched by this connection and is useful to others in relationship to it.”
An exhibit of items from the William Meredith Collection was also on display. And alumni authors Andrew Seguin ’03, Geoffrey Babbitt ’03 and Maya Pindyck ’00 led a lecture titled “The Legacy of Writing.”
The event was co-sponsored by The English Department and The Daniel Klagsbrun Symposium on Creative Arts and Moral Vision.