| The poems
of William Meredith are possessed of the sturdiness
and spare elegance of Shaker furniture. Without
demanding attention, he gathers it; without raising
his voice, he is distinctively heard. He takes
calm, though not unruffled, joy in being an American
citizen and in being a most careful observer of
the world. His example shows us the truth in his
line: "the bright watchers are still there."
Official judges citation for 1997 National Book
Winning title, Effort
National Book Foundation sadly marks the passing of
National Book Award Winner and Finalist poet William
Meredith. A 1965 National Book Award Poetry Finalist
for The Wreck of the Thresher
, Meredith went
on to win the award in 1997 for his collection Effort
at Speech: New & Selected Poems
The program from the 1997 National Book Award Ceremony
describe Meredith and his winning title:
Declared to be Meredith's "definitive collection,"
Effort at Speech draws on nine previous books in addition
to a dozen new poems.
Meredith is a contemporary of John Berryman, Elizabeth
Bishop, and Robert Lowell. His first volume of poetry,
Love Letter from an Impossible Land, won the Yale
Series of Younger Poets competition in 1943; his fourth
book, The Wreck of the Thresher, was a Finalist for
The National Book Award in 1965.