William Meredith: Washington, DC

from “Homage to Paul Mellon, I.M. Pei, Their Gallery, and Washington City”

…We’ve troubled the stones to stand up here
in attitudes of serenity,
our guesses at un-trouble,
what that must be like.
(These are short whiles,
To a stone’s way of thinking.)
Meanwhile, Munch and Noguchi
and a long deposit of the sweetest troublers
required this reckless glacier,
these knives of stone, these pink prows,
and among them, safe hogans of white space.

About the Author

William Meredith

Prize winner, 1988

William Meredith was born in New York City in 1919, graduated from Princeton in 1940, and served as a naval aviator during the Second World War. During his service, his first book of poems, Love Letter from an Impossible Land, was published. After teaching for a few years while still in the U.S. Navy Reserves—first at Princeton, then at the University of Hawaii—Meredith returned to the Navy as a pilot in the Korean War. Always writing and publishing poetry, he went on to win a Pulitzer Prize (for Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems) as well as the National Book Award (for Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems), among other prizes and distinctions. Meredith served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and as a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress.

Excerpted from poetryfoundation.org