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My short career in cryptography


Hoboing across America
Richard Wilbur Poet
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In the summers when I was going to Amherst I went hoboing, literally. That is to say I rode through 46 of the then 48 States on freight cars. When I couldn't catch a freight car, I would use my thumb on the highways, but it was largely a matter of excitingly riding the rails. I did that for one summer and then bragged so much about it that a couple of my Amherst friends wanted to go along for a second tour of the country. I can't guess in what way that may have been contributory to my writing, but I suppose... I suppose it was clear evidence of romanticism.

Acclaimed US poet Richard Wilbur (1921-2017) published many books and was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He was less well known for creating a musical version of Voltaire's “Candide” with Bernstein and Hellman which is still produced throughout the world today.

Listeners: David Sofield

David Sofield is the Samuel Williston Professor of English at Amherst College, where he has taught the reading and writing of poetry since 1965. He is the co-editor and a contributor to Under Criticism (1998) and the author of a book of poems, Light Disguise (2003).

Tags: Amherst

Duration: 59 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008