Address by Richard Eberhart for the National Book Award, April 13, 1977 (2 pages)

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Material Information

Title:
Address by Richard Eberhart for the National Book Award, April 13, 1977 (2 pages)
Series Title:
Address for the National Book Award, delivered at the American Academy , April 13 , 1977. 2 p. Autograph note and presentation inscription to the University of Florida Library, May 1977.
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Language:
English
Creator:
Eberhart, Richard 1904-2005
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 1
Folder: Address for the National Book Award, delivered at the American Academy , April 13 , 1977. 2 p. Autograph note and presentation inscription to the University of Florida Library, May 1977.

Subjects

Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Maryland -- Baltimore

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
AA00003102:00001


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Full Text
National Book Award a -,,


Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen;

There ought to be a suffering meter for poetry. But what a joke.

How can you judge the amount of suffering in.a poem?

Poetry is like fighting- "Sir, there was in my heart a kind of

fighting." Hamlet was not averse to killing. But it is more like

shadow-boxing. The poet is a self-knower trying to get out of himself.

I wrote a paper for this occasion but would like to summarize it

instead.

Thanks to the judges for the National Book Award. Be@t wishes to my

colleagues who were also nominated, sspelsclly to Muriel Rukeyser, I

reviewed her first book U.S. L in the late thirties. I have always

loved the warmth and depth of her poetry. Everybody knows that to be

nominated i~ tantamount to election.

Now for the summary:

Poetry is a natural energy resource of our country. It has no

energy crisis, possessing a potential that will last as.long as the

country. Its power is equal to that of any country in the world. Poetry

is written in America by thousands of young people today as a natural

expression of their perceptions of life. They invite the future.

I call for a more democratic attitude towards poetry than is found

in the academy. It is hard to square elitism in poetry with democracy.

,nar greatest poet, Whitman, was no elitist but a poet of the people.

Yet the academy, the universities, have mothered and best nurtured

our art in my time.

Let us rejoice that we are free and that nobody will dictate to us

what we shall say or write. While millions do not listen, American

poetry attests to the great idea of democracy and freedom.

Some of our best poets have died for poetry by suicide. Poets

should not die for poetry but should live for it. I deplore the

suicides of these poets.






.peaking of the struggles of life, and against suicide, I woyld like

to clo;e with a fivo-lime poem entitled "How It Is":


Then the oeghty-year old lady with a sparkle,

A Cambridge lady, hearing of the latest

Suicide, said to her friend, turning off

TV for oa, "Well, my deal*, doesn't it seeri

:little like going where you haven't been invited?".




Richard Eberhart























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