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Dartmouth celebrates a great poet

Published April 5, 2004; Category: EVENTS

Eberhart turns 100, College renames room in his honor

Dartmouth will celebrate the 100th birthday of acclaimed poet Richard Eberhart at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in  the Sanborn Library reading room. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a talk on Eberhart by Alan Gaylord, the Henry Winkley Professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature, which  will be followed by readings from Eberhart's work by faculty and staff members and students. As part of the celebration Dartmouth will rename its poetry reading room in Eberhart's honor.

Richard EberhartRichard Eberhart '26 speaks in 1982. He taught at Dartmouth from 1956 to 1975. (photo by Stuart Bratesman)

"Dick Eberhart is huge in the history of poets and poetry at Dartmouth College," said Gaylord. "He represents the Robert Frost Succession as Poet in Residence, and he was a student of Frost as an undergraduate. With his generous enthusiasms, his personal charm, his national reputation, and his circle of friends, he kept poetry a  vital interest at the College, centered on his student-friendly home on Occom Ridge. That we have such fine  poets teaching at Dartmouth today stems in large part from his passion for, and stewardship of, the poetic  life."

Eberhart graduated from Dartmouth in 1926, went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1965 for his book, Richard  Eberhart: Selected Poems, 1930-65, and the National Book Award in 1977 for Collected Poems, 1930-1976. His other honors include the Harriet Munroe Lyric Prize from Poetry magazine, The Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry  Society of America, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry from the Yale University Library, and a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. Eberhart also served as one of the 50 chairs of the American Academy of Arts and  Letters.

Eberhart joined the Dartmouth faculty as Professor of English and Poet-In-Residence in 1956. During that time he  was also a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, and in 1959 he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Advisory Commission on the Arts for the National Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. He also served as New Hampshire's Poet Laureate. Eberhart wrote 14 books of poetry and verse drama.

Alan Ginsberg, who credited Eberhart for having been one of the first members of the poetry establishment to recognize the importance of the Beat Generation, has written, "(Eberhart is) someone to talk to, appeal to, someone to remember in moments of creation, to project spirit to, someone to write vowels for - he's always had  that role in the back of my head, among older peers an encourager and recognizer - spiritual friend."

Eberhart currently lives in Hanover.

By JAMES DONNELLY

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Last Updated: 12/17/08