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Poetry readings: Altitudes


Introduction to Altitudes
Richard Wilbur Poet
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Here is a two-part poem called Altitudes, and it's about versions of spirituality. It's written more or less from the point of view of Europe or of myself in Europe. It begins inside a cathedral which undoubtedly is in Rome, but it looks back in its second part to Amherst, Massachusetts where I went to school, and it looks back also to I suppose such people as Emily Dickinson's neighbors who had to think up the spiritual life on their own and for themselves, transcendentalists, you know.

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: Europe, Rome, Massachusetts, Altitudes

Duration: 59 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2005

Date story went live: 29 September 2010