Letter from the President
Greetings once again here at Riverrun as we move from one holiday
season to the next. There is a lot to be thankful for, not least
of which is the friendship you have shown throughout the year.
Nowhere was such support more evident than at our annual meeting
this past November, a time to take stock, plan for the future,
and enjoy each other's company.
Mother nature brought a number of challenges to Riverrun last
winter which we hope to avoid this year. The furnace finally gave
up the ghost, the well was struck by lightening and the pipes
froze despite being drained by a professional plumber. Fortunately,
most of the repairs were covered by insurance, but it was difficult
to welcome visitors in the middle of all the work.
On November 11, our film MARATHON won Best Dramatic Feature at
the Los Angeles branch of the New York International Film Festival.
Last year it was selected as an official entry in a number of
festivals including Palm Beach, Swansea Bay in Wales and Mexico
where it took a bronze palm. We have been invited to the Delray
Beach Festival April 11-17 and hope to make this the focus of
a fund raising effort to identify investors for a theatrical release
of the film beginning in the Ft. Lauderdale area. MARATHON is
available on Netflix and will profit from viewers putting it in
This fall we were invited to exhibit art work at the Lyman Allyn
Museum's exhibition, The Thrill of the Chase. The idea is to share
work from private collections that the public would not normally
see. A beautiful painting by Stoimen Stoilov represents the foundation
and in the photo below two board members, Charlie Timberlake and
his wife pat as well as Nancy Frankel were able to view the exhibit
the day after the board meeting.
It is our hope this year to pursue another initiative suggested
by William's good friend, John Hracy, i.e. production of a cd
of William reading his poetry at different venues over the years.
We'd also like to produce a documentary focusing on William's
life and career, something in the line of American Masters, to
augment the film MARATHON and will be pursuing grants to begin
In July, we launched THE REVENANT, a series of lyric elegies
for William published by Little Red Tree publishing. On December
2nd I read from this work along with Connecticut's new Poet Laureate,
Dick Allen at the Hygienic Art Gallery. Profits from sale of the
REVENANT will help endow the foundation, particularly an exciting
new initiative we hope to launch next fall, The William Meredith
Connecticut Poetry Festival. This festival will continue the tradition
of poetry as a living art form that William encouraged throughout
his long career at Connecticut College. In the William Meredith
archive at the Shain Library there are examples Merdith's efforts
on behalf of poetry. On December 9, 1962, for example, Robert
Frost read his poetry at Connecticut College to a packed house.
William invited friends such as Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wilbur,
Muriel Rukeyser, Archibald MacLeish and many other celebrities
to visit the community and read their work. The guest book at
Riverrun is a virtual who's who of American poetry at the time.
But William also brought lesser- known poets to the campus such
as June Jordan and Derek Walcott and promoted talented students
such as Gayle Jones and Michael Collier as well who later achieved
national reputations. We envision a three day celebration of poetry
combining poetry readings, workshops, publication awards, and
panel discussions on divers topics. The festival will be a "moveable
feast," and offer events at different venues in the community.
An exciting component of this festival will be the awarding of
two prizes in poetry, the first of which would be the William
Meredith Award for Poetry. This award would offer publication
to a poet of great talent who may be in financial need or have
not received the recognition that his or her work deserves by.
It would provide publication of a full length manuscript and an
award ceremony as part of the festival. This is an award that
has no application process, but would come 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 second prize would be given in alternate years consisting
of a national competition for a first book. The screened manuscripts
would have a final selection by the Connecticut Poet Laureate
who has agreed to serve as judge.
On November 13, The Courtyard Gallery kindly sponsored a fund-raising
evening of poetry and live performance of beautiful music by John
and Barbara Metz. I am happy to say we raised enough money to
establish the first award publication which will be given to the
poet David Fisher of California. We are currently seeking sponsorship
of the poetry competition and a much more ambitious initiative,
the purchase of Riverrun as a permanent home for the William Meredith
Center for the arts. Congressman Courtney's office has informed
us that our application for a special appropriation to build an
artist residence annex to expand housing has been attached to
legislation. The political climate doesn't favor such "earmarks,"
I'm afraid, but we continue efforts with corporate, and government
funding as well as private philanthropy to make this dream a reality.
So, we are alive and well and remain optimistic despite the financial
situation in the country. We plan to work hard this winter and
look forward to new growth and rebirth this spring. Keep well
and warm and deep thanks again, for your kind support.
President, The Willism Meredith Foundation
Something extraordinary will happen Daisy.
Can you feel it in the fine mist that already
turns the air golden? This strange, unearthly
moment - sun and clouds and rain together.
Somewhere a cricket will not stop singing,
the gentle deer stand frozen, save their sweet
ears that turn slightly like small forest radar.
Only look Daisy! See the two rainbow-colored
arches that tie the riverbanks together. A lesson
for us, sitting here alone on the shore among
the memorabilia - the medals and trophies,
the books and photos, and letters and poems,
all that remain from the tsunami of William’s life.
We are the ones who love him still, Daisy and
the great trees he planted which reach now
almost to rainbow height. But we must not
be the only ones that keep on loving him.