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William Meredith (William Morris, Jr Meredith) Biography

(1919–2007), (William Morris, Jr Meredith), Love Letter from an Impossible Land, Ships and Other Figures

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: McTeague to Nancy [Freeman] Mitford Biography

American poet, born in New York, educated at Princeton University, where he was three times Resident Fellow in Creative Writing between 1947 and 1966. From 1955 to 1983 he taught at Connecticut College, New London, becoming Professor of English in 1965. The most impressive work in Love Letter from an Impossible Land (1944), his first collection of poetry, and Ships and Other Figures (1948) displayed technical accomplishment and emotional understatement in verse reflecting his wartime experiences as a naval airman. His naval background remains an important imaginative resource in The Open Sea (1958) and The Wreck of the Thresher (1964); the title poem of the latter volume is an elegiac meditation of remarkable scope prompted by the loss of an American submarine. Meredith's work has been compared to Robert Frost's for its unostentatious formal strength and poised conversational tone. His later collections, in which his verse forms display increasing flexibility, include Earth Walk: New and Selected Poems (1970), Hazard the Painter (1975), and Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems (1987; Pulitzer Prize, 1988). Among his other publications is Poems Are Hard to Read (1991), an entertainingly varied collection of memoirs and essays.

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