Richard Wilbur American Literature Analysis
Summing up Richard Wilbur’s poetic achievement seems at first very easy. Throughout his career, he has excelled at writing beautiful short poems about the surrounding natural world. However, a close look at some of his poems and a glance at his translations and other interests will find a writer more important than a painter of pretty pictures. He does, certainly, enjoy the world of living creatures. “Cicadas,” the very first poem in his first book, is more than a clever rendering of the humming of cicadas. A close reading proves it to be about nature’s ironies: These insects fill the world with song but are themselves deaf.
Animal titles are sprinkled throughout his work: There is “Still, Citizen Sparrow” “The Death of a Toad,” “All These Birds,” “The Pelican,” and the delightful “A Prayer to Go to Paradise with the Donkeys,” translated from the French of Francis Jammes, a modern French poet. Yet these animals are chosen because they provide a key to understanding the surrounding world. “Still, Citizen Sparrow” is really about how the vulture (and all it stands for) is needed in the world; “The Death of a Toad” shows how all death is tragic, and “Grasshopper” helps to distinguish the peace that is death from that which is contentment in activity.
Many critics think of Wilbur as a poet uniting flesh and spirit, discerning both, glorifying both. In “Running,” he describes a day when his body as a boy...
(The entire section is 4454 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Richard Wilbur Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!