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Citation for W.D. Snodgrass

Click here for low-resolution video of UD’s 156th Commencement

Click here for high-resolution video of UD’s 156th Commencement

Click here for low-resolution video of Jeff Shaara's address

Click here for high-resolution video of Jeff Shaara's address

Click here for Commencement 2005 photo album

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About UD’s 156th Commencement

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Most distinguished poet, you won the Pulitzer Prize for your first book of poems, Heart’s Needle, in 1960 and followed that honor with a career dedicated to quality writing in the fields of poetry, criticism, and translation. Your awards include grants from the Ingram-Merrill Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Academy of American Poets. Gifted in translation as well as in the writing of original poetry, you have also received the Academy of American Poets’ Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. A member both of the Academy of American Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, you yourself are the subject of two full-length critical studies. And, you continue to be active in your chosen fields. In 2006, another book, Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems, will be appearing.

Inspired mentor, you are responsible for the emergence of American confessional poetry, and you have led an entire school of poets to examine their inner as well as outer worlds, to know themselves and to know how to define feeling in words. In 2003, Thomas Dillingham said of your work that it combines “private life and personal responses with the precise observation and description that make such poetry emotionally compelling and lasting.”

Respected teacher and scholar, you have taught at Cornell, the University of Rochester, Wayne State, Syracuse University and Old Dominion before your tenure at the University of Delaware. Here, your former students still speak of your dedication not just to the written but to the spoken word. Your deep respect both for the craft of poetry and the less-honored craft of reading won converts to your written art and to the art of articulation, something of paramount importance in a time when the spoken word is much in need of respect.

W. D. Snodgrass, institutions tell the world what they stand for and strive for by honoring those whose lives reflect the finest values that inspires them. We send that message by honoring you today.

And now, under the authority of the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware, I have the pleasure and honor of conferring upon you, W. D. Snodgrass, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and do declare you entitled to all the rights, honors and privileges to that degree appertaining throughout the world. In testimony thereof, I am pleased to present you the diploma.

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