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Richard Wilbur, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

American poet Richard Wilbur served as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1987-1988 at the Library of Congress. This guide provides access to selected print and online resources related to Wilbur’s life and work.


U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur. 1987-1988. Photo credit: Stathis Orphanos.

On April 17, 1987, Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin appointed Richard Wilbur the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. In making the appointment, Boorstin said:

We are fortunate that there is a Richard Wilbur to serve as successor to Robert Penn Warren as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in the Library of Congress. He is a poet for us all, whose elegant words brim with wit and paradox. He is also a poet's poet, at home in the long tradition and traveled ways of the great poets of our language. And he is a cosmopolitan citizen of the world of letters, whose essays and translations help us to the poets of other languages. His poems are among the best our country has to offer.

Wilbur began his term on October 5, 1987, with a reading in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium. He served one term as Poet Laureate, ending his duties in spring 1988.

This guide provides an overview of print and online resources related to Richard Wilbur's life and work. To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Library's poetry and literature librarians.

Contact Information for Richard Wilbur

If you have question related to Richard Wilbur and his writings please direct your inquiries as suggested below:

  • Permissions Requests: Contact the publisher of the poem or work written by Richard Wilbur that you'd like to use.
  • Reference Questions: Use the Library's Ask a Librarian service.