on the image below to view the 2007 CT Governor's Lifetime
Achievement Award for William Meredith.
on the image below for a tour of the William Meredith
Bulgaria TV News coverage of scattering of William
Meredith's ashes. September, 2016.
from the President
I had the good fortune to return to Bulgaria through the generous
support of a classmate, Bob Storck. I had thought to take a small
portion of Williams ashes to the Rila Monastery outside
Blagoevgrad where we lived for two years during my Fulbright at
the American University. It was to have been a private moment,
but friends soon convinced me that this was a national
event given Williams work to establish a bridge between
our two countries when he was US Poet Laureate. And so the event
was covered extensively by the Bulgarian media including 24 Hours
and Standartnews, among others:
as a Roman Catholic, however, proscribed such a division of a
persons cremains and I had to give some thought to what
I was about to do at the monastery. Here is what I wrote in preparation
for any media questions about the theological legitimacy
of what I intended to do. The question sometimes comes up when
a loved one has died and has made it clear what they wished by
way of burial. Here is how I addressed the question in preparation
for the ceremony at the Monastery September 21, 2016:
When I was
young, I was taught that in marriage, it was the two people marrying
each other who performed the sacrament of marriage and that the
priest and assembled friends at the ceremony were only witnesses
of the love God expressed in the vow the couple were making to
each other. In death as in life, it may be true too that a communal
expression of the love felt toward the one who has died, may also
be blessed by God he certainly can not be offended when
the creatures he has created reach out to Him for solace and hope
for eternal life in a gesture such as this, the formal recognition
of dust to dust, letting the spirit of the beloved ride the winds
or as Mrs. Lemington says in a poem by William Meredith, Id
like to drift as ashes over the fields, and give them that much
back. In another poem, Edward John Trelawney says that,
The waters may keep the dead, as the earth may, and fire
and air. But dream is my element. And in dream once, Baba
Vanga seemed to Answer the question if one day these mountains
would be a final resting place.
lay dying, I worried to the Episcopal priest that my education
held that ones cremains could not be partitioned but must
lie together in consecrated ground despite Williams desire
that his be delivered to the river where we lived. Ours
is a powerful God the priest told me with great sympathy,
and on the day of judgment he can surely reassemble us for
the final resurrection.
ashes only be a symbol of the spirit of a man whose courage, and
talent and humanity has touched so many of us and continues to
make its way through the chambers of our heart in America and
in his beloved second homeland, Bulgaria. We thank God for such
models of humanity, and pray that Christ take him in His loving
arms for all eternity.
legend of Daphne, while fleeing from Apollo's passionate pursuit,
the river nymph cries out to her father, Peneus, the river god,
to save her, and he transforms her into a laurel tree.
"Daphne" will be re-enacted in an original short dance
and musical presentation on Aug. 20 at Riverrun, the late William
Meredith's beautiful home on the Thames River in Uncasville and
the perfect setting to bring Ovid's Greek myth to life.
Richard Harteis, president of the William Meredith Foundation
and Meredith's longtime partner, conceived the performance along
with Brett Raphael, founder and artistic director of the Connecticut
Ballet and creator of The New London Dance Initiative that is
aimed at increasing dance exposure and training for the city's
It is with
great sadness that we note the death of recently-appointed Board
member, Valentin Krustev who died suddenly of a heart
attack on June 3, 2016, at his home in Sofia, Bulgaria. This
gentle spirit and brilliant intellect was friend, collaborator
and cicerone to William and me for decades. He was an essential
bridge between the foundation and Bulgaria and is irreplaceable.
Here is my tribute to this dear friend and artist.
is too long until the word
comes that your are gone, and gone
now another world, another life
you brought me through translation.
was like a window pane
Through which a reader met a poet
And his poem, with never a smudge
Of your own ego on the clear glass.
But it wasnt
only the meaning,
it was the thing itself you showed me:
It was never a question of right or
Wrong: This simply is how we raise
our children, how we eat our soup.
American overly sure of
Himself and his culture, learned a bit
The subtlety of silence, the elegance
Produced by history, the need and skill
to work and live in the hive at peace.
diplomat, smile on me again:
Translate me at the end of my own days.
The faults will be obvious enough.
I rely on
your constant goodness, your talent
to intuit what I may have done well and speak
on my behalf brother, even if, at times, you must
cloud the pane between us and the stars.
With Love from Richard
Valentin Krustev and William Meredith at Svetlana's
beach in Waterford
visit to the Two Trees Garden where William's ashes lie.
William Meredith Foundation is proud to announce the establishment
of the William Meredith Center for the Arts to remember and honor
a great American spirit. Friends who have come together as a foundation
wish never to forget this extraordinary human being and the impact
he has had on so many lives. Poet, pilot, arborist, beloved teacher
and friend, his legacy is a treasure we wish to pass on to future
generations. The Meredith 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.
center sponsors educational programs during the year to provide
cultural enrichment through a diverse selection of artistic programming.
It fosters an appreciation for the work of local and regional
artists and develops artist exchange programs internationally
as well, particularly with the Republic of Bulgaria where Mr.
Meredith was made a citizen by presidential decree for his work
in the culture. Artists invited for residencies at the Meredith
Center share their talents through art exhibitions, readings,
publications and academic seminars. The center serves 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.
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."
William Meredith Center for the Arts offers 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
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.