Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Library Walk: Richard Eberhart is in the NYPL Reading Room

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Happy Birthday Richard Eberhart! Born April 5, 1904.

Alive when his plaque was unveiled on Library Way in 1996, Richard Eberhart was described by the New York Times upon his death at 101 as, "...a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet considered one of the foremost writers of lyric verse in the 20th century..."


Reading Room, The New York Public Library

In the reading room in the New York Public Library
All sorts of souls were bent over silence reading the past,
Or the present, or maybe it was the future, persons
Devoted to silence and the flowering of the imagination...


— Richard Eberhart


As we reflect upon his life and poetry on the day of his birth we are also reminded that Richard Eberhart also defended Allen Ginsberg's Howl in the New York Times Book Review in 1956 describing the poem as, "a powerful work, cutting through to dynamic meaning."

Eberhart himself published 16 volumes of poetry. He also served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1959-1961 and along with the Pulitzer Prize in 1966 for his Selected Poems 1930-1965  he also won a National Book Award in 1977 for his Collected Poems 1930-1976.

In 1996, the New York Public Library, the Grand Central Partnership and the New Yorker Magazine convened a panel of esteemed lovers of the written word and came up with a collection of quotations from the never-ending oeuvre of literature.

These quotes were cast in bronze by New York sculptor Gregg LeFevre and then laid out as sidewalk plaques on E 41st Street in 1998. In 2003, the stretch of E 41st Street from the New York Public Library entrance on Fifth Avenue to Park Avenue was renamed Library Way.

Whether it be a birthday, anniversary or publication date of a seminal work, the Bar None Group will revisit these 40+ quotations from time to time — quotations that inspire one to write, read, explore and embrace literature. We last visited Mark Twain.