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3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Poetry lovers and critics will rejoice at the news of this collection from Richard Wilbur, the legendary poet and translator who was called “a hero to a new generation of critics” by the New York Times Book Review, and whose work continues to be masterful, accomplished, whimsical, fresh, and important.

A yellow-striped, green measuring worm opens Anterooms, a collection fi
Hardcover, 62 pages
Published November 12th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 16, 2011 Jsavett1 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this collection by going back and reading its first poem, "House" and I'm nearly in tears both because that poem is heartbreaking and because I'm through with this too short collection. After having been disappointed with Stephen Dunn's newest poems and a collection by Robert Pinsky that I thought was pretty lightweight, I am so pleased to see that Wilbur is still writing just beautiful, smart, intuitive, inventive, and honestly, fun verse. Wilbur's word choice is always brillian ...more
Richard Barager
May 17, 2011 Richard Barager rated it really liked it

When death puts an end to a marriage of long duration—30, 40, 50 years or more—the sense of loss experienced by the surviving spouse can be overwhelming. They suffer a paralyzing, disorienting, emotionally jarring type of grief, intense and long lasting. Some stop eating and lose weight; others become confused, prone to wandering, no destination in mind. Suffering so profound it makes one look away, a cri de coeur too tender to witness. So forlorn can they be, it is not unu
Jan 23, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Written in form, mostly quatrains and triplets, these poems explore patterns of life and the natural world, looking at old age, mortality, and loss, with grace, as in the opening poem “The House” and "The Pasture". Poems like “The Censor” with its wicked turn at the end and the romp in rhyme of “A Prelude” add some fun. The book includes two sections of translations: one with poems by Mallarme, Verlaine, Horace and Brodsky, the other one with 37 riddles by Symphosius. As I was reading, I kept th ...more
May 25, 2017 John rated it it was amazing
I am giving this book a reread after looking at some of the very excellent reviews here. Thanks.

Richard Wilbur remains my favorite poet writing today. His use of language, imagery, and meter is beautiful, and for poems that come alive with nature, the best there is. In his second book, Ceremony, there is a beautiful poem about the intersecting of humans and animals called "Death of a Toad." I recommend it as one of his best poems.

My gripe, which is not his fault, is that there is a gap for his w
Apr 17, 2014 averybiird rated it really liked it
Recommended to averybiird by: Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac
Shelves: poetry
I first heard Richard Wilbur’s A Pasture Poem being recited on a radio program a couple years ago. I remember how much I loved this poem about the life and waning of a Thistle and recently went searching for it. After several false starts that kept ending at Edna St. Vincent Millay’s A Few Figs from Thistles (a delightful detour, as it turns out), I at last located the poem here as part of Anterooms.

Here is a link to listen to the poem being read aloud (it begins at 3:20):

A Pasture Poem

Summer w
Therese Broderick
May 18, 2011 Therese Broderick rated it it was amazing
Consider first the title of this book. In what sense can an esteemed major poet who has written/translated more than 30 books of poetry and prose (some intended for children) be winding down his illustrious career with "anterooms"? Perhaps this entire book is the waiting room for a hypothetical Complete Collected Works. Indeed, several of these poems are tinged with awareness of mortality, backward glances, regret, sadness. Or perhaps each section in this book is an anteroom preceding a more imp ...more
Derek Emerson
Dec 08, 2010 Derek Emerson rated it really liked it
Wilbur is clearly one of America's leading poets and this small collection of poems, translations, and even riddle translations could only come from a writer comfortable with his spot in the literary world. Wilbur's poems are strong and hopeful, leaving this reader wishing for more. There is some discontinuity with the translations, but I doubt they would sell on their so perhaps that explains the package.
May 04, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
I do read and enjoy rhymed and metered verse, but much of this felt sing-songy to me. While the language wasn't forced, it didn't sound completely natural to me, either. I enjoyed the translation "Thirty-seven Riddles from Symphosius" most, as the language used was quite clever and economical--a challenge in any translation but in a riddle in particular.
Abigail Licad
Mar 03, 2011 Abigail Licad rated it really liked it
Carol Bachofner
Jun 05, 2011 Carol Bachofner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Phenomenal book! Another winner by my favorite poet!
Robin Friedman
Nov 27, 2016 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
The American poet and translator Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)has served as American Poet Laureate and has received the National Book Award and two Pulitzer Prizes among many other honors. As a translator, Wilbur is best-known for his renditions of Moliere and Racine. Wilbur is somewhat out of the mainstream of contemporary American poetry. He writes clearly and lucidly in rhymed stanzas. He writes of everyday experience but with a transcendental turn. His poetry evidences wide learning in the classi ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Jen rated it liked it
This book was published in Wilbur's 89th year, which is amazing. It's a book that struggles a bit to be 60 pages, but what's included is telling and indicative of Wilbur's career. He hasn't stopped being a poet in the fullest scope. There are the accomplished poems we expect, and a short section of translations and lastly a short section of riddles and light verse.

The first poem in the book, "The House," is practically worth the price of admission and can be viewed on http://www.poets
Jan 25, 2011 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Part of me thinks I might give this one a full five-star rating if only it were a bit longer-- there's not a single word within it that's out of place, but, at 37 pages, it's all too brief. Then again, the brevity is probably just a function of the author's humility and powerful economy, two of the greatest virtues of these poems. This is the work of a poet at play: He includes some wonderful translations of ancient Latin poems, which are remarkably seamless with his originals, and even ends his ...more
Feb 06, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing

O Egypt, Egypt—so the great lament
Of thrice-great Hermes went—
Nothing of thy religion shall remain
Save fables, which thy children shall disdain.
His grieving eye foresaw
The world’s bright fabric overthrown
Which married star to stone
And charged all things with awe.
And what, in that dismantled world, could be
More fabulous than he?
Had he existed? Was he but a name
Tacked on to forgeries which pressed the claim
Of every ancient quack—
That one could from a smoky cell
By talisman or spell
Mia Tryst
Mar 18, 2011 Mia Tryst rated it it was amazing
One of this century's best formal poets, hands down. His meter is so seamless and masterful, that the poems never feel rhyme-driven or cleverly-contrived. They're skillful precision. Breathless work from Wilbur. Sample Poem:

A Measuring Worm

This yellow-striped green
Caterpillar, climbing up
The steep window screen,

Constantly (for lack
Of a full set of legs) keeps
Humping up his back.

It's as if he sent
By a sort of semaphore
Dark omegas meant

To warn of Last Things.
Although he doesn't know it,
He will soo
Jun 07, 2011 Bookwyrmgyrl added it
Shelves: poetry
Just finished this - my first book of Richard Wilbur's poems.

I really liked "The House", and "A Measure Worm".

In "Galveston, 1961" I really liked the final image where he wrote:

"Whom droplets of the sea
Emboss and magnify."

Also, while I liked the whole poem "Ecclesiastes 11:1", I especially liked the ending stanza:

"Betting crust and crumb
That birds will gather, and that
One more spring will come."

My favorite in the whole book was his "A Pasture Poem" about the thistle - just really great!
Tyler Jones
May 04, 2011 Tyler Jones rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
If I had more of a classical education I'm sure I would appreciate these poems even more but I think it is Wilbur's genius that he creates poems that are accessible and humorous without ever dumbing it down.

I see a fellow Goodreader gave it four stars due to the slimness of the volume and while I am tempted to do the same I will also give one bonus star for rhyming "cockily" and "broccoli".

Cooper Renner
Wilbur's skill with formal verse is unabated, and the poems are pleasant reading, though rarely of any great depth. A sunny outlook on life with a fine sense of music. [Just finished reading the book a second time. Again the impression is no great depth, but the conversational skill of the formal verse is smart, subtle and sly.)
Jan 01, 2015 Marlowe01247 rated it it was amazing
I think Wilbur is America's greatest living poet. I have read the first poem, "The House," at least a hundred times, and like all great poems it enriches me more and more at each reading. It is beautiful, moving and subtle beyond my ability to describe. Now I have it by heart, and I have added its treasures to my mind.
Dec 16, 2010 Caroline rated it really liked it
4 stars because the 3 great poems in this book are just that great -- Galveston, 1961, gosh.

But for this space's small purposes:

Terza Rima

In this great form, as Dante proved in Hell
There is no dreadful thing that can't be said
In passing.
Jun 20, 2011 Will rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Some nicely done rhyming poetry, with riddles as well, but I wish I was famous enough to include blank pages in my manuscript. All poems start on the recto, and only a few creep onto the following even-numbered page. What's there is good, but it's a book of poems on every other page.
Aaron Cummings
Apr 06, 2013 Aaron Cummings rated it really liked it
Wonderful poetry. I heartily recommend.
May 11, 2011 Leonard rated it it was amazing
A pleasant mix of poems for children as well as adults and even some riddles.
Jan 26, 2011 Caroline rated it liked it
"The House", the first poem in the collection, was so fantastic that I thought this was going to blow me away. After that, there were a few strong works, but none that moved me significantly.
Alex Pepple
Sep 21, 2011 Alex Pepple rated it it was amazing
This is simply the best collection I've read in quite a long time. From Wilbur's themes, to his masterful translations to his exquisite formal craft, this is simply the work of a master.
Kate Tooley
Feb 16, 2011 Kate Tooley rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A handful of really brilliant work (Trismegistus for one) but not my favorite compilation
Jan 22, 2013 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Couldn't have been happier with his latest edition. Many of them reflect on memories with his wife and the approaching inevitability of death.
Jul 24, 2012 Kirk rated it it was amazing
This small book of poems carries massive depths of enjoyment. Wilbur is a master wordsmith, and Anterooms is evidence of his skill and wisdom.
Jan 05, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing
One of American's best contemporary poets whose translations of Moliere are legend. I can't say enough about his poem "Blackberries for Amelia," which is contained in this anthology.
Edward Ferrari
Jun 09, 2015 Edward Ferrari rated it it was ok
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Early years :

Wilbur was born in New York City and grew up in North Caldwell, New Jersey.He graduated from Montclair High School in 1938, having worked on the school newspaper as a student there. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942 and then served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. After the Army and graduate school at Harvard University, Wilbur taught at Wesleya
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