1964 to 1987 William Morris Meredith served as Chancellor of
the Academy of American Poets.
He served as a fighter pilot in both the Pacific campaign in
World War II and in Korea. From, 1946 to 1950, he was
Instructor in English at Princeton University, as the Woodrow
Wilson Fellow in Writing, and Resident Fellow in
Creative Writing, then associate professor at the University
of Hawaii (195051). After the Korean War he was
associate then Full Professor of English at Connecticut College,
where he taught until 1983.
From 1978 to 1980, he was Consultant in Poetry to the Library
of Congress of the United States,
the position which in 1985 became the Poet Laureate Consultant
in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
William Meredith Foundation is proud to announce the establishment
of the William Meredith Center for the Arts to remember and
honor a great American spirit. Friends who have come together
as a foundation wish never to forget this extraordinary human
being and the impact he has had on so many lives. Poet, pilot,
arborist, beloved teacher and friend, his legacy is a treasure
we wish to pass on to future generations. The Meredith Center
will keep the flame of generosity and artistic camaraderie burning
at Riverrun, William's home on the Thames River in Connecticut
where he lived and worked for 60 years and which has recently
been added to the State
Registry of Historic Landmarks.
center sponsors educational programs during the year to provide
cultural enrichment through a diverse selection of artistic
programming. It fosters an appreciation for the work of local
and regional artists and develops artist exchange programs internationally
as well, particularly with the Republic of Bulgaria where Mr.
Meredith was made a citizen by presidential decree for his work
in the culture. Artists invited for residencies at the Meredith
Center share their talents through art exhibitions, readings,
publications and academic seminars. The center serves as a retreat
where artists can create new works in the same spirit of peace,
equality, and serious endeavor that characterized William's
life and work at Riverrun.
Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote
a letter joining Connecticut College in a celebration of
William's 80th birthday in which she says, "The arts have always
been a unifying force in our world, bringing people together
across vast cultural, social, economic and geographical divisions.
Through his work, William Meredith both enhances and strengthens
the American spirit. As you honor Mr. Meredith, you celebrate
the timeless power of poetry and poets as our American memory,
our purveyors of insight and culture, our eyes and ears who
silence the white noise around us, and express the very heart
of what connects us, plagues us, and makes us fully human."
William Meredith Center for the Arts offers another window on
the world through which we can enhance our spirit, a window
through which artists may search their private worlds and speak
for us as we make our slow progress as members of the human
tribe. A short signature poem by William Meredith inspires us
in our efforts to honor his memory as a model of courage, good
will, civility and achievement:
Poems are hard to read
Pictures are hard to see
Music is hard to hear
And people are hard to love
But whether from brute need
Or divine energy
At last mind eye and ear
And the great sloth heart will move.
brochure for the William Meredith Foundation (pdf)