Richard Wilbur Poetry: American Poets Analysis
Eschewing any obvious poetic version or formal, personal set of guidelines, Richard Wilbur has come to be regarded as a master craftsman of modern poetry. Although he sees himself as an inheritor of the vast wealth of language and form used by poets before him, Wilbur has consistently striven to create and maintain his own artistic signature and control over his own work. Having begun his career immediately after World War II and having been exposed to what has been called the Beat generation, Wilbur creates his poetry from an intriguing blend of imaginative insights and strict adherence to the niceties of conventional poetics. His is not the poetry of confession or hatred readily exemplified by Sylvia Plath, nor is it hallucinatory or mystical, as is much of Allen Ginsberg’s work.
Wilbur began to write poetry because the war prompted him to confront the fear and the physical and spiritual detachment brought about by a world in upheaval. He says that he “wrote poems to calm [his] nerves.” It is this sense of imposed order on a disorderly world that has caused some readers to think of Wilbur’s poetry as a distant investigation into human life addressed to a small, educated audience and delivered by a seemingly aloof but omniscient observer. Nearly all Wilbur’s poems are metrical, and many of them employ rhyme. Perhaps if a feeling of detachment exists, it comes not from Wilbur the poet but from the very standards of poetic expression. Every...
(The entire section is 5625 words.)
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