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Moving to North Caldwell, New Jersey


I started out both clever and stupid
Richard Wilbur Poet
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I was in the apartment and studio on Haven Avenue for just two years of my young life, and of course I remember nothing of it. What I have been told is that I used to sit out on the fire escape looking at the Hudson River and unerringly recognise the Albany night boat when it went by. The other thing - that of course means that I was very clever as a child - the other thing was that I went into my father's studio one day and ate a quantity of his paints and became very sick. So, as you can see, I started out both clever and stupid.

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: Haven Avenue, Hudson River

Duration: 51 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008