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Poetry reading: Cottage Street, 1953


Introduction to Cottage Street, 1953
Richard Wilbur Poet
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This poem is called Cottage Street, 1953, and it has to do with a visit my wife and I made to her mother in Wellesley, Massachusetts for the sake of some afternoon tea, and for the sake of meeting Sylvia Plath and her mother, who did live in Wellesley and were friends of my mother-in-law, Mrs Ward. My assignment, when I went to tea that day, was to be encouraging to the very young Sylvia Plath about the life of the poet, and to hearten her to set aside her suicidal urges and go on with her writing. That of course was a very difficult assignment, which I clearly failed.

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: Wellesley, Massachusetts, Cottage Street, 1953, Sylvia Plath

Duration: 1 minute, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2005

Date story went live: 29 September 2010