The William Meredith Foundation invites writers, reporters, and lovers of poetry to celebrate the 2018 William Meredith Award for Poetry. The award is presented to James Beall for his new collection of poetry, ONYX MOON published by New Academia Press. The prize is given in honor of William Meredith, former US Poet Laureate who was a good friend and colleague of Mr. Beall particularly at the Library of Congress when they organized a symposium on science and literature

Annapolis, MD, January 09, 2018 --( The William Meredith Foundation is proud to present the 2018 Award in Poetry to James Beall, physicist, poet, and professor at St. John's College in Annapolis. The award has no application process, but comes to the author unsolicited in the spirit of generosity that informed William’s interactions with the world of poetry when he judged competitions and supported new talent. A working association with Meredith is not a pre-requisite for awardees, but in Jim Beall’s case, their history as colleagues makes this year’s award particularly fitting and adds a particular glow to the serendipitous decision on the part of the board of directors in choosing Beall. The Meredith Award is only one of the artistic projects supported by the foundation to continue the legacy of this great American spirit, and in this case, recognizes these brothers in the art.

In 1978, Beall approached William at a poetry reading at the Folger Library while Jim was a Congressional Science Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment for the U.S. Congress. Their collaboration led to The Science and Literature Symposium in 1981, with Beall as co-moderator. The program featured lectures by the the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, George Wald, O.B. Hardison (then director of the Folger Library), Sir Fred Hoyle, Gerry Pournelle, and Gene Roddenberry of Star Trek fame, among many others.

Jim Beall is an astrophysicist, poet, and author on issues related to public policy and national defense. He holds the degrees of B.A. , M.S., and Ph.D, all in physics. He is a member of the faculty at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and a senior consultant to the U.S. Government. His first book, HICKEY, THE DAYS was published in 1981 by Word Works, and his second book, Republic was published by Toad Hall Press in 2010. The Italian translation, Repubblica, translated by Sabine Pascarelli was published by Toad Hall Press in 2013. Onyx Moon is his third book published by New Academia Press, a very fine publisher that can hang this title high on their wall of honor.

Wind, rain, volcanoes, jungles, and mountains, appear throughout his poetry, and like Audubon he paints his subjects with exactitude of color and precision of detail. Stars shine brilliantly throughout ONYX MOON as one would expect from a physicist. In his poem, “The Fire on Magdalena Mountain,” he recounts travel to the large array of radio telescopes near Soccoro, New Mexico:

They are like flowers tracking a dark sun.
Those distant instruments listen to the sibilant
stars, stars that mimic no human speech. It is a sound
similar to the wind blowing across old ruins,
a level just beneath hearing, that conjures
beyond our capacity to understand or comprehend.

James Beall’s work is at first an enigma. What to make of his challenging vision, his unique voice, the round-about syntax, his penchant for unfamiliar diction, his seemingly schizophrenic take on the world. For here is a poet blessed with double vision, a man who sees the world with both brain and heart, who is fully at home in his bicameral mind, scientist and mystic at once.

Here we see both the careful scientific method of observation leading to a thesis as well as the appreciation of synchronicity that informs the reality of a Reike practitioner or a shaman. The two chevrons, orange-red on a blackbird’s wings at Gettysburg mirror the late sun, the way the speeches of Pericles or Lincoln help his imaginary listeners understand a cause.

In “Military Intelligence,” soldiers digging a foxhole “will make of his or her small space/ a home of sorts, as carefully in place/ as any nest or den the animals/or insects in their pantomime of thought/ would take as ease.” The soldiers here imitate the creatures around them as do the creatures imitating thought.

Friends and critics have sung Jim Beall’s praises over the years, but one thinks of Josephine Jacobsen’s poem, her shock and pleasure when she comes across a real poet, or Emily Dickenson who says you feel like the top of your head has been taken off when you meet the real McCoy. Here he is. The Foundation is so proud to celebrate this rising star, shining among us. As Mr. Spock would say, “live long and prosper James Beall.”

Announcement of this award comes on January 9th, the ninety-ninth anniversary of Meredith’s birth and 11 years after his death in 2007.

A Holiday Note from the President
on the 99th anniversary of William's birth,
January 9, 1918
Dear Friends,

Well, here it is. The annual round robin, catch-­-up letter that most people dread having to get through. So, I’ll try to keep it short (ha and ha.)

I’m in West Palm. I had been scheduled to take a Writer­-in-Residence position at a university in Mexico, but after further dialog, it became clear it was not for me. Long story. But I rented my apartment as of Jan 15 with a view toward flying to Mexico and so now I must leave early. I may be back in April or I may just rent it for the year and continue on north. Ah, the gypsy life.

Our little press (Poets-­ published ten books since 2016 (FIRST, DO NO HARM, TO START WITH, FEEL FORTUNATE, A WAY TO HOME, New and Selected Poems, REUNION, A Memoir ,THE BANQUET, CAFÉ SELECT, REFLECTIONS : Paintings & Poems from a Poet's Gallery, BABUSHKA’S BEADS: A Geography of Genes, New and Selected Poems, HARBINGERS, AFRICAN CAKEWALK) This included my own memoir REUNION which describes the rise of Donald Trump and my travel to Bulgaria to carry some of William’s ashes to the Rila Monastery. This year’s William Meredith Award for Poetry will be announced January 9th, the anniversary of his birth. We had readings in different venues, and the new Bulgarian Ambassador announced that the embassy would be our permanent home to announce future Meredith Awards.

We began a capital campaign to keep the foundation ( afloat: (www.gofundme/WilliamMeredithCentennial) and continue activities for 2019 – the Centenary of William’s birth. You’ll find lots of interesting archival information there if you visit.

That’s about it, work wise. The screenplay I’ve been working on for several decades has won two internet competitions and if I can finally find a producer, may end my perennial financial challenges. I may need to sell one of my properties this spring. “Things change,” runs the cliché. But so far, I’ve kept all the balls in the air and am happy. My friend Nancy remains a big part of my life, I’m looking after my health, and my little dog Sydney continues to be a joy for me. I miss the two dearest of the recently dead, my mother and William. But they are still with me. How could they not be?
Love really does make the world go round. I hope it is sustaining you too wherever you are, whatever your circumstances. Here is some from me.

Phone 860-­-961-­-5138 email:

From 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 (1950–51). 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.
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 video tour of the William Meredith Foundation.
The William Meredith Foundation and Center for the Arts


Foundation Director:
Richard Harteis
Tel. (860) 961-5138 and

The William Meredith Foundation is about to begin a fund raising effort to celebrate the centennial anniversary of William Meredith's birth in 2019.
Our special event at the
Bulgarian Embassy
Washington, D.C.
September 16, 2017

celebrating a number of recently published poets by
Poets Choice Publishing (
including the 2017 awardee of The William Meredith Award for Poetry given
to Florida Poet Laureate, Peter Meinke.
The event was free and open to the public.
Videos by Johnes Ruta, WMF Board Member.
Setsuko Ono and the Washington Sculpture Group
A 30 minute film covering the life of our friend Setsuko Ono was aired by Nippon Television in Japan on August 3rd, 2016.
This video was taken by Nippon Television at WSG Sculpture Salon in June 2016:

Bulgaria TV News coverage of scattering of William Meredith's ashes. September, 2016.
2017 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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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)