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Click on the image below to view the 2007 CT Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award for William Meredith.
Click on the image below for a tour of the William Meredith Foundation.
The William Meredith Foundation and Center for the Arts
Bulgaria TV News coverage of scattering of William Meredith's ashes. September, 2016.
Letter from the President

This fall, I had the good fortune to return to Bulgaria through the generous support of a classmate, Bob Storck. I had thought to take a small portion of William’s ashes to the Rila Monastery outside Blagoevgrad where we lived for two years during my Fulbright at the American University. It was to have been a private moment, but friends soon convinced me that this was a “national” event given William’s work to establish a bridge between our two countries when he was US Poet Laureate. And so the event was covered extensively by the Bulgarian media including 24 Hours and Standartnews, among others:

Account of our visit on TRUD Newspaper:

Visit to Luybomir Levchev:

Writers Union Newspaper (go to page 11):

My training as a Roman Catholic, however, proscribed such a division of a person’s cremains and I had to give some thought to what I was about to do at the monastery. Here is what I wrote in preparation for any media questions about the “theological legitimacy” of what I intended to do. The question sometimes comes up when a loved one has died and has made it clear what they wished by way of burial. Here is how I addressed the question in preparation for the ceremony at the Monastery September 21, 2016:

When I was young, I was taught that in marriage, it was the two people marrying each other who performed the sacrament of marriage and that the priest and assembled friends at the ceremony were only witnesses of the love God expressed in the vow the couple were making to each other. In death as in life, it may be true too that a communal expression of the love felt toward the one who has died, may also be blessed by God – he certainly can not be offended when the creatures he has created reach out to Him for solace and hope for eternal life in a gesture such as this, the formal recognition of dust to dust, letting the spirit of the beloved ride the winds or as Mrs. Lemington says in a poem by William Meredith, “I’d like to drift as ashes over the fields, and give them that much back.” In another poem, Edward John Trelawney says that, “The waters may keep the dead, as the earth may, and fire and air. But dream is my element.” And in dream once, Baba Vanga seemed to Answer the question if one day these mountains would be a final resting place.

As William lay dying, I worried to the Episcopal priest that my education held that one’s cremains could not be partitioned but must lie together in consecrated ground despite William’s desire that his be delivered to the river where we lived. “Ours is a powerful God” the priest told me with great sympathy, “and on the day of judgment he can surely reassemble us for the final resurrection.”

Let these ashes only be a symbol of the spirit of a man whose courage, and talent and humanity has touched so many of us and continues to make its way through the chambers of our heart in America and in his beloved second homeland, Bulgaria. We thank God for such models of humanity, and pray that Christ take him in His loving arms for all eternity.

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Ancient Greek legend performed at Thames River’s edge

Harold Blackhood portrays Apollo and Katia Jirankova Levanti as "Daphne."

Story in The New London Day:
Published August 12. 2016 2:53PM | Updated August 12. 2016 3:00PM
By Amy J. Barry

In the legend of Daphne, while fleeing from Apollo's passionate pursuit, the river nymph cries out to her father, Peneus, the river god, to save her, and he transforms her into a laurel tree.

"Daphne" will be re-enacted in an original short dance and musical presentation on Aug. 20 at Riverrun, the late William Meredith's beautiful home on the Thames River in Uncasville and the perfect setting to bring Ovid's Greek myth to life.
Richard Harteis, president of the William Meredith Foundation and Meredith's longtime partner, conceived the performance along with Brett Raphael, founder and artistic director of the Connecticut Ballet and creator of The New London Dance Initiative that is aimed at increasing dance exposure and training for the city's youth.


It is with great sadness that we note the death of recently-appointed Board member, Valentin Krustev who died suddenly of a heart attack on June 3, 2016, at his home in Sofia, Bulgaria. This gentle spirit and brilliant intellect was friend, collaborator and cicerone to William and me for decades. He was an essential bridge between the foundation and Bulgaria and is irreplaceable. Here is my tribute to this dear friend and artist.

The Translator

To Valentin

No word is too long until the word
comes that your are gone, and gone
now another world, another life
you brought me through translation.

Your art was like a window pane
Through which a reader met a poet
And his poem, with never a smudge
Of your own ego on the clear glass.

But it wasn’t only the meaning,
it was the thing itself you showed me:
It was never a question of right or
Wrong: This simply is how we raise
our children, how we eat our soup.

A brash American overly sure of
Himself and his culture, learned a bit
The subtlety of silence, the elegance
Produced by history, the need and skill
to work and live in the hive at peace.

Quiet, master diplomat, smile on me again:
Translate me at the end of my own days.
The faults will be obvious enough.

I rely on your constant goodness, your talent
to intuit what I may have done well and speak
on my behalf brother, even if, at times, you must
“cloud the pane between us and the stars.”

With Love from Richard

Valentin Krustev and William Meredith at Svetlana's beach in Waterford
A visit to the Two Trees Garden where William's ashes lie.

The 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.

The 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.

First 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."

The 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:

A Major Work

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.

Printable brochure for the William Meredith Foundation (pdf)


The William Meredith Foundation, Inc.
337 Kitemaug Road
Uncasville, Ct. 06382
Tel: 860-961-5138

© 2010  The William Meredith Foundation