Richard Wilbur dedicates the new poems in his 2004 collection to his wife, Charlee, “in this and the other kingdom”. The phrase, which comes from his delightful poem “Complaint” (

Walking in to Sleep

1969), does not seem to mean exclusively an afterlife. It reflects his life-long dedication to the time-bound world and interest in its other—infinity. It is attainable on earth, as explicitly stated in the title of his poem “Attention Makes Infinity” (

The Beautiful Changes and Other Poems

, 1947). The “other kingdom” can also be a glimpse of divinity or a mysterious dimension, which humanity co-opts from dreams. It may allude to other poetic consciousnesses (for example, Edgar Allan Poe, with whom Wilbur has an affinity and a quarrel on the far-flung Beyond, W.H. Auden,…

5531 words

Citation: Wai, Isabella. "Richard Wilbur". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2009; last revised 05 September 2022. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4715, accessed 15 June 2024.]

4715 Richard Wilbur 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.