Eberhart, Richard 1904-2005
EBERHART, Richard 1904-2005
(Richard Ghormley Eberhart)
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born April 5, 1904, in Austin, MN; died June 9, 2005, in Hanover, NH. Educator and author. Eberhart was a Bollingen, National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prizewinning poet and former U.S. poet laureate. Although he began to write poems in high school, he did not seriously consider pursuing the practice professionally until his mother's death profoundly changed his view of life while he was attending the University of Minnesota. When his father's business failed not long after, Eberhart still managed to study at Dartmouth College. Here he was a student of Robert Frost's and earned a degree in 1926. He then went on to St. John's College, Cambridge, to earn another B.A. in 1929 and a master's degree in 1933. From 1933 until 1941, Eberhart was employed as master in English at St. Mark's School in Southboro, Massachusetts. He then accepted a job as an English teacher at Cambridge School in Kendal Green, Massachusetts, before World War II interrupted his career. During the war, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was a gunnery instructor. Afterwards, he worked for his wife's family's business, Butcher Polish Co., in Boston, where he was a manager and later vice president. He took the job as a way to supplement his income as a poet, but all the while he was publishing collections of his work, such as Song and Idea (1940), Burr Oaks (1947), and An Herb Basket (1950). Though a traditionalist himself, Eberhart enjoyed a wide variety of verse and had high praise for Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, with whom he became friends and whose work he helped promote through positive critical reviews he wrote in the 1950s. By 1953, Eberhart had returned to teaching, working as an English professor at the University of Connecticut, Wheaton College, and Princeton University. In 1956 he joined the faculty at Dartmouth College, where he continued to teach for many years even after even his retirement in 1970. As a poet, Eberhart was not considered the most innovative of stylists, but his verses were praised for their skilled use of language and intense evocation of emotion. He won numerous prestigious awards for his collections, including a Shelley Memorial Award in 1952, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1962, the Pulitzer Prize in 1966 for his Selected Poems, 1930–1965 (1965), and the National Book Award in 1977 for his Collected Poems, 1930–1976 (1976). In addition, Eberhart succeeded Robert Frost as the nation's poet laureate from 1959 to 1961, and from 1979 to 1984 he was laureate for the State of New Hampshire. The poet was admired by his colleagues, too, for his largesse in serving as a mentor to younger poets such as Ginsburg, fostering and encouraging their talents. Among his other publications are Survivors (1979), The Long Reach: New and Uncollected Poems, 1948–1984 (1984), and New and Selected Poems, 1930–1990 (1990). Eberhart also penned a number of plays and edited books of poetry and criticism.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, June 13, 2005, section 1, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2005, p. B10.
New York Times, June 14, 2005, p. C19.
Times (London, England), June 25, 2005, p. 74.
Washington Post, June 14, 2005, p. B6.