Since 2007, Richard Harteis has worked as the president of the William Meredith Foundation, a 501.c3 organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the late US Poet Laureate and his partner of 36 years. Mr. Harteis served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, worked as a physician assistant in North Africa and Asia and spent a Fulbright year as writer-in-residence at the American University in Bulgaria. For his work in the culture, he was accorded Bulgarian citizenship by decree of the President and Parliament in 1996.Mr. Harteis has taught literature and creative writing at a number of institutions over the years including The Catholic University of America, Creighton University, Mt. Vernon College, and Connecticut College. For two years he directed the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project and created the NPR radio program The Sound of Writingserving as writer/director and host. He has received honors and awards for his work including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the D.C. Commission on the Arts, and the Ford Foundation.
He is the author of ten books of poetry and prose most recently the novel, Sapphire Dawn, a new and selected poems, Provence, and a memoir first published by W.W. Norton in 1989 entitled Marathon to critical acclaim (and re-issued through: http://www.Vivisphere.com.)
In 2008 he produced a 35 mm, 90-minute adaptation of Marathon (www.marathonthemovie.com) which won Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography in the 2009 New York International Film Festival as well as the Bronze Palm at the 2010 Mexico International Film Festival. He is currently working with colleagues on a new film project, Comes Love,which is set in New York and Hollywood between the great wars.
He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida and Uncasville, Connecticut where his home, “Riverrun,” was added to the Connecticut Registry of Historic Places in 2007 and now serves as the William Center for the Arts.
William Morris Meredith, Jr. (January 9, 1919 – May 30, 2007) was an American poet and educator. He was Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1978 to 1980.
He worked briefly for the New York Times before joining the United States Navy as a flier. Meredith re-enlisted in the Korean War, receiving two Air Medals.
In 1988 Meredith was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a Los Angeles Times Book Award for Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems and in 1997 he won the National Book Award for Poetry for Effort at Speech. Meredith was also awarded a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, the Carl Sandburg Award, and the International Vaptsarov Prize in Poetry.
From 1964 to 1987 Meredith served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
From 1978 to 1980, Meredith was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the position which in 1985 became the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. He has the distinction of being the first gay poet to receive this honor.
Meredith taught at Princeton University, the University of Hawaii and at Connecticut College from 1955 to 1983. In 1983, he suffered a stroke and was immobilized for two years. As a result of the stroke he suffered with expressive aphasia, which affected his ability to produce language. Meredith ended his teaching career and could not write poetry during this period. He regained many of his language skills after intensive therapy and traveling to Britain for treatment.
A long time admirer of the Irish poet W. B. Yeats, in the summer of 2006 Meredith fulfilled a long-time ambition of visiting Yeats's spiritual homeplace of Sligo, Ireland. While there he also attended the Yeats International Summer School, which attracts many academics and admirers of Yeats to Sligo every summer.