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

About Richard Wilbur at the Library of Congress

Richard Wilbur served as the Library of Congress's second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1987-1988. The links below provide more information about his activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.

On April 17, 1987, Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin appointed Richard Wilbur the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Wilbur began his term on October 5, 1987, with a reading in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium.

In a May 2004 video interview External, Wilbur frankly reflected on his work as Laureate:

[My duties] were not very time-consuming really―to pick out a few lecturers and introduce them when they came to Washington; to give a little advice as to what books the Library should acquire; to suggest that so-and-so should record his poems for the Library. All of that is not too exhausting....

I also ran around and gave readings wherever I was asked to go and I did quasi-diplomatic things. When some English poets would come and read at the auditorium I would try to be nice to them within my powers. Subsequent Laureates have given the position still more meaning than it ever occurred to me to give it.

Among the activities to which Wilbur alluded above, he introduced and read poems as part of the April 18, 1988, program "An Evening of Poetry in Translation," which featured readings by Herbert Mason and Stephen Mitchell.

Library of Congress press releases about Richard Wilbur's poet laureate appointment, activities, and events are listed below.


Library of Congress blog posts about Richard Wilbur.


The Library of Congress features several recordings of Richard Wilbur reading and discussing his poetry and the poetry of other poets. These are listed below.