Other literary forms
In addition to poetry, Richard Eberhart wrote Of Poetry and Poets (1979), a prose collection divided into three parts and an epilogue. The first section is a compilation of lectures and essays on the craft of poetry. The second is a critical section in which Eberhart discusses the work of poets such as Wallace Stevens, Theodore Roethke, W. H. Auden, and Robert Frost. Five interviews and Eberhart’s National Book Award acceptance speech round out the book.
Eberhart’s verse plays also deserve mention. The first, The Apparition, printed in Poetry (Chicago) in 1950 and produced the same year, is a short play in which a salesman encounters a young girl who wanders into his room; she talks with him, enjoys a few drinks, and then disappears into the hallway. The second play, The Visionary Farms, was begun at Yaddo, the artists’ colony near Saratoga Springs, New York, when the poet worked in a studio apartment next to William Carlos Williams. The play was produced in May, 1952, at the Poets’ Theatre (of which Eberhart was cofounder) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Visionary Farms, which records the collapse of a family’s fortune, is a satire on hucksterism. “Hurricane” Ransom misappropriates more than a million dollars from the protagonist, Fahnstock, and leaves him on the verge of financial ruin. On another level, the play is a study of American enterprise and a protest against greed. Eberhart’s verse dramas are largely considered to be experiments, and though they are interesting adjuncts of the poet’s craft, they are not among his finer achievements.