William Meredith, a poet and scholar noted for, among other things, his translation of Apollinaire, is the new poetry consultant to the Library of Congress.

Meredith, 59, succeeds Robert Hayden, who has served since 1976. The post, created in 1936, has been awarded to many of America's top poets, including Robert Lowell, Robert Frost, Howard Nemerov, James Dickey and Josephine Jacobsen.

Upon his arrival in September, Meredith will become the 25th consultant. He is an English professor at Connecticut College, and for several years he taught at the Bread Loaf writers conference at Middlebury, Vt.

Meredith's first book of poems, "Love Letter From an Impossible Land," was chosen in 1944 by Archibald macLeish for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has written five other volumes, translated Apollinaire's "Alcools" from the French in 1964 and has edited works of Shelley and other poets.

He writes often of the sea and the loneliness of vast spaces, having served with the Air Force in World War II and Korea: ". . . images of oceanic space, the lonely sky, distant islands seen from vast heights . . ." as described by fellow poetry consultant Daniel Hoffman.

The work of the consultant, left undefined in the early years, has shaped up more recently as a variety of chores: encouraging younger poets, arranging for readings and recordings, advising the library on acquisitions and traditionally opening the term with a reading, closing with a lecture.

The post was created by an endowment from the late Archer M. Huntington.