Richard Wilbur, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Winner, Dies at 96
Richard Wilbur, whose meticulous, urbane poems earned him two Pulitzer Prizes and selection as the national poet laureate, died on Saturday in Belmont, Mass. He was 96.
Across more than 60 years as an acclaimed American poet, Mr. Wilbur followed a muse who prized traditional virtuosity over self-dramatization; as a consequence he often found himself out of favor with the literary authorities who preferred the heat of artists like Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg. […]
But there were many on the other side who objected to the notion that Mr. Wilbur’s poems were somehow unimportant because they were pretty. Jack Butler, for example, a resident of Okolona, Ark., wrote a letter to the editor in response to Mr. Leibowitz’s review, remarking, “Sirs, the man has had a feast set before him, the very best, and complains because it is not a peanut butter and ketchup sandwich.”