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Still an outsider


A lonely childhood
Richard Wilbur Poet
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One thing about North Caldwell in those days was that there was every conceivable kind of animal and orchard and farm activity on Mr Armitage's estate, and the outlying areas of North Caldwell were also well forested and not at all densely populated. So, I grew up in... I grew up in a very countrified place, hard as it is to believe that at present of New Jersey, and did a lot of lonely exploration of the woods; also a lot of interfering in the chores of the farm which were being performed by other people, but very interesting to be... to be part of. I suppose that if you are brought up anywhere in the country, it means that you develop an ability to amuse yourself and an ability to be alone without weeping, and that of course is essential if you are going to turn out to be a writer.

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: New Jersey, North Caldwell

Duration: 1 minute, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008