In case you missed it: Richard Wilbur, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, translator and lyricist died at the age of 96. Wilbur is known as one of the most preeminent poets of the 20th century, and his list of accolades attest to that fact: he succeeded Robert Penn Warren to become the second poet laureate of the United States; he won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his collection Things of This World, and a second Pulitzer for New and Collected Poems; he won the Wallace Stevens Award, the Frost Medal, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, two Bollingen Prizes, the T.S. Eliot Award, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award, the Prix de Rome Fellowship and many more honors, fellowships and awards for his poetry.
According to the Poetry Foundation, Wilbur’s grandfather and great-grandfather were both editors, and Wilbur showed an early interest in journalism. As a student at Amherst College in the early 1940s, Wilbur wrote stories, editorials, and poems for his college newspaper and magazine. His experience as a soldier in World War II, however, drove him to “versify in earnest.” His verse was known for adopting a classical approach, while maintaining a unique lyrical elegance that defied the more popular freestyle and confessional poetry of the time.
Wilbur's work will surely remain and inspiration for poets everywhere, but unsurprisingly he also had many nuggets of wisdom to impart to the next generation about the actual act of sitting down and getting to work. If the nine quotes below don't get your butt in the chair, nothing will.