THE WILLIAM MEREDITH FOUNDATION, INC.
WE NOW HAVE A WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN SEE A TRAILER OF THE FILM MARATHON AS WELL AS MUCH INFORMATION ON THE FILM MAKERS, SCRIPT AND SO ON. PLEASE CHECK IT OUT:
Click on the photos to the left and then on the smiley face to see stills from the movie. You'll also find photos from the private MARTATHON screening that took place Novmber 20th (A newspaper account of that screening can be found at the very end of this site.)
Click on the YouTube link at the left to see a recent visit to Beechwood, the nursing home where we solicited actors.
And as always, if you wish to support our efforts, you can make a tax free contribution and join our sponsors at the end of this page. Many, many thanks. Here we go!
THE WILLIAM MEREDITH CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The William Meredith Foundation in co-operation with the Norwich Arts Council is pleased to announce the establishment of the William Meredith Center for the Arts to honor a great American poet, the late William Meredith. This center will keep the flame of generosity and artistic camaraderie burning at Riverrun, William's home on the Thames River in Connecticut where he lived and worked for 60 years and which has recently been added to the State Registry of Historic Landmarks.
The invited artists at the Meredith Center will share their work through art exhibitions, readings, publications and academic seminars. The center will serve as a retreat where artists can create new works in the same spirit of peace, equality, and serious endeavor that characterized William's life and work at Riverrun. Profits from the film and sales* of MARATHON will be used to help endow the William Meredith Center for the Arts.
SOME BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON WILLIAM MEREDITH
After service as a Navy pilot in WWII and Korea, William Meredith returned to his native Connecticut to begin his extraordinary career. He settled on a farm in Uncasville to share his talents as teacher, poet, and arborist. For decades, as the rare trees he nurtured on the banks of the Thames grew to beautiful maturity, so did his many fine students at Connecticut College. He continued his mastery of the art form of poetry and in 1979 was designated Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress, a position now (and retroactively) legislated as United States Poet Laureate.
For years, William Meredith was a good friend and good neighbor to the community, and a legendary host to students and fellow writers such as Robert Frost, Muriel Rukeyser, Richard Wilbur and Robert Penn Warren whose visits enhanced the cultural life of the community. William encouraged emerging local artists, sponsoring and guest curating numerous art exhibitions from Norwich, to Westerly to New Haven. Even after a devastating stroke curtailed his career, he faced the challenge and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry.
The foundation believes we need such models of courage and grace to sustain us. In one poem from a series based on the life of an imaginary painter named Hazard, William describes Hazard as being, "in charge of morale in a morbid time." This is William Meredith's legacy to us, a legacy we treasure.
GOALS OF THE WILLIAM MEREDITH FOUNDATION
In order to share his legacy with future generations, a number of friends have come together to form the William Meredith Foundation. Our first goal is to preserve Riverrun and continue to invite artists for brief residencies. The Board of Directors (see attached list) has incorporated the foundation in the state of Connecticut and function as a tax exempt foundation. Architectural plans have been drawn up for an annex to house artists and provide studio space. The William Meredith Center for the Arts will foster an appreciation for the work of local and regional artists and provide opportunities for them to present their work, as well as those invited for artist exchange programs internationally, particularly with the Republic of Bulgaria where Mr. Meredith was made a citizen by presidential decree in 1996 for his work in the culture.
A FINAL WORD: HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote a letter joining Connecticut College in a celebration of William's 80th birthday in which she says, "The arts have always been a unifying force in our world, bringing people together across vast cultural, social, economic and geographical divisions. Through his work, William Meredith both enhances and strengthens the American spirit. As you honor Mr. Meredith, you celebrate the timeless power of poetry and poets as our American memory, our purveyors of insight and culture, our eyes and ears who silence the white noise around us, and express the very heart of what connects us, plagues us, and makes us fully human."
The William Meredith Center for the Arts will offer another window on the world through which we can enhance our spirit, a window through which artists may search their private worlds and speak for us as we make our slow progress as members of the human tribe. A short signature poem by William Meredith inspires us in our efforts to honor his memory as a model of courage, good will, civility and achievement:
A Major Work
Poems are hard to read
Pictures are hard to see
Music is hard to hear
And people are hard to love
But whether from brute need
Or divine energy
At last mind eye and ear
And the great sloth heart will move.
Based on a true story.
MARATHON is a tale of courage, endurance, and finally, the triumph of love.
MARATHON explores the relationship between Richard Harteis and William Meredith, former US Poet Laureate and winner of every major American award for poetry including the 1988 Pulitzer Prize.
In the 17th year of their friendship, William sustains a debilitating stroke. Richard stands by his partner, fighting for the right to care for him, despite the inevitable restrictions on his own life, and against the wishes of William's family. Though the path they have chosen is not an easy one, their love and compassion see them through days of illness, therapy, and healing.
The power to overcome illness with dignity becomes a lesson in physical and spiritual endurance, hard won knowledge indeed. MARATHON displays the resolve, discipline and courage of two human beings running for their lives, qualities that can sustain us all in life's marathon. In this moving account, we see how two fellow runners have joined the course, and just how far our dreams can take us before we cross the finish line.
The William Meredith Foundation, Inc.
337 Kitemaug Road
Uncasville, Ct. 06382
Board of Directors - The William Meredith Foundation, Inc.
William Barrett, Senior Advisor to Ambassador Felix G. Rohatyn.
Grace Cavalieri, Producer/Host "The Poet and the Poem from
the Library of Congress
Michael Collier, Director, Bread Loaf Writer's Conference
Tim Cummings, Attorney at Law
Laurie Deredita, Special Collections Librarian,Emedrita. Shain Library, Connecticut College
Nancy Frankel, sculptor, Treasurer of the Foundation
Daniel Gula, Adjunct Professor of English, Secretary and Vice President of the foundation
Richard Harteis, poet, President of the Foundation
Marilyn Nelson, Poet Laureate of Ct. Emerita
Elizabeth Ritter, Connecticut State Representative for 38th District
Charles Timberlake, Director, Atlas Shipping
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ON THE WILLIAM MEREDITH ARTS CENTER CAN BE FOUND AT THE FOLLOWING:
FOR BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON WILLIAM:
The William Meredith home page at Connecticut College:
FEATURE ARTICLE ON WILLIAM MEREDITH:
* TO ORDER a copy of MARATHON:
TO ORDER A COPY OF LEGACY: