In Memoriam: W.D. Snodgrass
W.D. Snodgrass receives an honorary degree from the University of Delaware at the Department of English convocation ceremony on May 28, 2005.
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8:44 a.m., Jan. 15, 2009----Pulitzer Prize-wining poet W.D. Snodgrass, who was Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Delaware, died Jan. 13, at the home in New York he shared with his wife, Kathleen B. Snodgrass, who received her Ph.D. in English at UD in 1987. He was 83.

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He was professor of writing and contemporary poetry at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1994.

On May 28, 2005, Prof. Snodgrass received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree as part of the Department of English convocation ceremony. At the ceremony, he was praised for his contributions to both literature and the University.

The University of Delaware Library Special Collections Department is home to a comprehensive collection of Prof. Snodgrass' published work and is also the official repository for his literary papers, which encompass more than 100 linear feet of original manuscripts, correspondence and other materials. The W. D. Snodgrass papers, which span his entire literary career, are not fully processed, but a summary description may be viewed here.

Prof. Snodgrass was born in Wilkinsburg, Pa., in 1926, and attended Geneva College until he was drafted into the Navy and sent to the Pacific during World War II. After returning from duty, he enrolled in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, which had been established in 1937 at the University of Iowa.

Prof. Snodgrass published his first poems in 1951 and continued to win notoriety for his work throughout the '50s, publishing in such prestigious magazines as the Partisan Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Hudson Review.

In 1959, with the publication of his anthology, Heart's Needle, Prof. Snodgrass had won the The Hudson Review Fellowship in Poetry and an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant. A few months after the release of Heart's Needle, he also received a citation from the Poetry Society of America, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and the 1960 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

His works include After Experience, Remains, A Locked House, W.D.'s Midnight Carnival, The Death of Cock Robin, Each in His Season, The Fuhrer Bunker and several volumes of translations and essays. He received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram-Merrill Foundation.

Before his tenure at UD, Snodgrass also taught at Cornell, Rochester, Wayne State, Syracuse and Old Dominion universities.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Hospice & Palliative Care Inc., 4277 Middle Settlement Rd., New Hartford, NY 13413.

Photo by Jon Cox

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