Richard Eberhart, 101, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet admired for mentoring generations of aspiring writers, died June 9 at his home in Hanover, N.H. No cause of death was reported.
Mr. Eberhart wrote more than a dozen books of poetry during a career that spanned more than 60 years. He received nearly every major book award a poet can win, including the Pulitzer, which he received in 1966 for "Selected Poems, 1930-1965."
"Poetry is a natural energy resource of our country," he said in his 1977 acceptance speech for a National Book Award. "It has no energy crisis, possessing a potential that will last as long as the country. Its power is equal to that of any country in the world."
Mr. Eberhart was an intensely lyrical poet. Unafraid to ask fundamental questions, his poems explore dramatic issues of life and death.
"Poems in a way are spells against death," he once told the Concord (N.H.) Monitor. "They are milestones, to see where you were then from where you are now. To perpetuate your feelings, to establish them. If you have in any way touched the central heart of mankind's feelings, you'll survive."
He was born April 5, 1904, in Austin, Minn. He discovered his love for poetry as a high school student, when an English teacher asked students to write poems for homework.
"When most of the students would bring in one poem the next day, I invariably brought in five or 10," he said in a 1997 interview in the Connecticut Review.
After a year at the University of Minnesota, he transferred to Dartmouth College, where he studied with Robert Frost. He graduated in 1926, went on to receive bachelor's and master's degrees at St. John's College at Cambridge University and published his first book, "A Bravery of Earth," in 1930.
Upon returning to the United States, he began studying for his doctorate at Harvard University, but a lack of money ended his studies after one year. He spent the Depression teaching English at a private prep school near Boston, where he met his wife, Helen Elizabeth "Betty" Butcher. They were married for 52 years until her death in 1993.
Although he was old enough to avoid military service during World War II, he chose to enlist and became a Navy gunnery instructor. After the war, he spent seven years in management with Butcher Polish Co. in Boston, a company founded by his wife's family.
He taught at several universities and colleges, then returned to Dartmouth in 1956 as a professor of English and poet in residence.
Although he officially retired in 1970, he continued to teach part time until the mid-1980s.
Survivors include two children and six grandchildren.