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The William Meredith Foundation and Center for the Arts

U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney
Richard Harteis with Bruce Harvey (son of USS Thresher
Captain John Harvey)
U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney and Richard Harteis

We are pleased to announce the publication of CONGREGATION as the 2014 William Meredith Award for Poetry given to US Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey. Individual copies can be purchased through this PayPal Order button for $12.95

Book Store DISCOUNTS for bulk sales are available by contacting: or telelphone 860-961-5138

Congregation, poems by Natasha Trethewey
Poet Laureate of the United States

The poems of Natasha Trethewey’s Congregation are the result of Hurricane Katrina and the earlier hurricane, Camille, and their terrible impacts on those who live in the hard-hit communities along the Gulf Coast, including her family. They are love letters, praise songs, dirges, invocations, and benedictions; they are also homages to the everyday people who “gather our / food, and those who grow it clean it, cook it / who bring it to our tables.” The opening poem, “Invocation,” asks for the grace needed to tell their story and to thank God for the ability to remember them.

Bless the travellers who gather
our food, and those who grow it, clean it,
who bring it to our tables. Bless the laborers
whose faces we do not see – like the girl
my grandmother was, walking the rails home:

bless us that we remember.

Grace Cavalieri,
Washington Independent Review of Books:
"When we read these poems we know what Trethewey beliieves — we see the blood in her veins. Next, we know how principled poetry can emerge from a darker world; and then, we see, when all around us crumbles, the complexity of the human spirit –and consequences of suffering that can be redeemed. When the poet liberates herself, she liberates others; and that is why we call writing a moral life. Trethewey reflects reality with lyrical force. She’s not afraid to live; she’s not afraid to carry the freight of knowledge; she creates carefully from the boundaries of loss and turns it to poetry. Out of cultural disorder comes Congregation, a celebration, so get your God on. Poetry is holy work."

Congregation is the recipient of the 2014 Award for Poetry by The William Meredith Foundation.

Natasha Trethewey is the author of Thrall (2012), Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press). She has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize and has had fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012, she was appointed the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi and in 2013, Poet Laureate of the U.S. Throughout 2013, she joined Jeffrey Brown in a series of on-location broadcast reports for the PBS News Hour exploring issues that matter to Americans through the framework of poetry. She is presently the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

by Natasha Trethewey

Foreword by
Richard Harteis

17 pp. 5 x 7-3/4

Perfectbound, $12.95

ISBN: 978-1-928755-24-1

co-published with
The William Meredith Foundation

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Richard Harteis
p.s. As noted in an earlier message, Ben Panciera has re-vitalized the Connecticut College website which so beautifully organizes William’s papers and scholarship. Please check it out and bookmark the following link if you wish to take a look:

We are delighted to announce an upcoming event of major importance to the foundation. We have contracted with the Slater Museum in Norwich to mount a two-month long exhibition to open June 21, 2015. BRIDGE OF LIGHT: Artistic Illumination from the Balkans will feature Bulgarian and American artists who have shared their talent over three decades.It will also highlight the numerous publications and translations that have been produced by poets and writers from Bulgaria and America. A literary program and a musical performance will take place during the summer exhibition period. Congressman Joe Courtney has been particularly supportive of this effort as well as the special event at the Bulgarian Embassy where the 2013 William Meredith Award was presented to Lyubomir Levchev (See Recent and Past Events)
Petyo Varbanov, Second Secretary Political Section, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria;
Nancy Frankel; Richard Harteis; visiting Congressman Joe Courtney
Embassy of Bulgaria -- October 15, 2013
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)


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Tel: 860-961-5138

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