Authors: Richard Eberhart

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

American poet

Author Works


A Bravery of Earth, 1930

Reading the Spirit, 1936

Song and Idea, 1940

A World-View, 1941

Poems, New and Selected, 1944

Burr Oaks, 1947

Brotherhood of Men, 1949

An Herb Basket, 1950

Selected Poems, 1951

Undercliff: Poems, 1946-1953, 1953

Great Praises, 1957

The Oak: A Poem, 1957

Collected Poems, 1930-1960, Including Fifty-one New Poems, 1960

The Quarry, 1964

Selected Poems, 1930-1965, 1965

Thirty-one Sonnets, 1967

Shifts of Being, 1968

Three Poems, 1968

Fields of Grace, 1972

Two Poems, 1975

Poems to Poets, 1976

Collected Poems, 1930-1976, 1976

Hour, Gnats: New Poems, 1977

Survivors, 1979

Four Poems, 1980

Ways of Light, 1980

New Hampshire: Nine Poems, 1980

Florida Poems, 1981

The Long Reach, 1984

Collected Poems, 1930-1986, 1986

Maine Poems, 1988

New and Selected Poems, 1930-1990, 1990


The Apparition, pr. 1950

The Visionary Farms, pr. 1952

Triptych, pr. 1955

The Mad Musician, pr. 1962

Devils and Angels, pr. 1962

Collected Verse Plays, pb. 1962

The Bride from Mantua, pr. 1964

Chocorua, pb. 1981


Poetry as a Creative Principle, 1952

Of Poetry and Poets, 1979


Richard Eberhart (EHB-ur-hahrt) grew up on Burr Oaks, a forty-acre estate near Austin, Minnesota, where his father was an executive in the George A. Hormel Company. He graduated from high school with various distinctions in 1921. The following year his mother died of cancer, and his father was embezzled out of his fortune. Eberhart once said, “The violent changes in my early world subsequently drove me around the world and to Cambridge University in search of truth.” He began his college career with one year’s study at the University of Minnesota. He then attended Dartmouth College, where he received an A.B. in 1926. In 1927, he sailed around the world as a deck boy on tramp steamers; he stayed at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and received his A.B. in 1929. The next year he tutored the son of King Prajadhipok of Siam in Washington, D.C., after which he attended graduate school at Harvard in 1932. He received his M.A. from Cambridge in 1933, and from 1933 to 1941 he taught English at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Butcher in 1941; they had one son and one daughter.{$I[AN]9810000623}{$I[A]Eberhart, Richard}{$I[geo]UNITED STATES;Eberhart, Richard}{$I[tim]1904;Eberhart, Richard}

Eberhart served in the Navy during World War II and was discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1946. Although such poems as “World War,” “At the End of War,” and “Brotherhood of Men” come from his war experiences, the persistence of death in his poetry undoubtedly grew from the personal tragedy of his mother’s long and painful death. Similarly, the stoical narrator of “Brotherhood of Men” who finds strength in suffering was probably as much inspired by his father as by the war; Eberhart said that his father lost his fortune but not his spirit or love of life.

After 1946, Eberhart was active both as a businessman (vice president and member of the board of directors of Butcher Polish Company) and as a lecturer and poet-in-residence at the University of Connecticut (1953), Princeton University (1955), and Dartmouth (beginning in 1956). One of the few American authors of verse plays, he founded and was the first president of the Poets’ Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1950. In 1963, he began a three-year appointment as honorary consultant in American letters to the Library of Congress; he also served as poet laureate of New Hampshire.

Eberhart received most major awards for poetry in a career spanning seven decades. Among the most distinguished were the Pulitzer Prize for Selected Poems in 1966, the Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets in 1969, and the National Book Award in 1977 for Collected Poems. He also filled one of the fifty chairs of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and served as honorary president of the Poetry Society of America.

BibliographyEngel, Bernard F. Richard Eberhart. New York: Twayne, 1971. An introductory biography and critical study of selected works. Includes a bibligraphy of Eberhart’s works.Ginsberg, Allen. To Eberhart from Ginsberg: A Letter About Howl, 1956, An Explanation by Allen Ginsberg of His Publication “Howl” and Richard Eberhart’s “New York Times” Article “West Coast Rhythms.” Penmaen Press, 1976. Ginsberg’s essay casts light on both Eberhart and their times.Hoffman, Daniel G. Hunting a Master Image: The Poetry of Richard Eberhart. Special issue of The Hollins Critic 1, no. 4 (October, 1964). Devoted to Eberhart’s poetics.Lea, Sydney, Jay Parini, and M. Robin Barone, eds. Richard Eberhart: A Celebration. Hanover, N.H.: Kenyon Hill Publications, 1980. A collection of essays on Eberhart and his work.Negative Capability 6 (Spring/Summer, 1986). This “Richard Eberhart Symposium Issue” contains letters to Eberhart, commentaries and critical articles on the poet’s work, an interview, and poems, essays, and addresses by Eberhart. It is edited by Sue Brannan Walker and Jane Mayhall.Roache, Joel. Richard Eberhart. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971. This book is a biography that covers the twists and turns of Eberhart’s career from 1904 to 1961. Contains a selected bibliography.Thorslev, Peter L., Jr. “The Poetry of Richard Eberhart.” In Poets in Progress, edited by Edward Hungerford. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1962. A critical appraisal of Eberhart’s work, with an analysis of specific poems.Van Dore, Wade. Richard Eberhart: Poet of Life in Death. Tampa, Fla.: American Studies Press, 1982. A small pamphlet that deals specifically with Eberhart’s study of death.
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