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William Meredith, In Memoriam

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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 Award
Poetry Winning title, Effort at Speech.

The 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.

William 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.



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