Date of Award

Spring 1976

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Falco, Joseph

Second Advisor

Boyle, Robert

Third Advisor

Daeger, Gil


Richard Wilbur believes that the poet's job is to find order in the chaotic world. The poet's very act of writing in a poetic form is a step toward such an ordering. In his poetry, Wilbur's use of forms which are potentially dialectical and themes which are dialectical reveal that the diversity and contradictions inherent in the world create confusion and that an acceptance, a reconsideration of the validity of the opposites, becomes in itself an ordering. A consideration of the narrative structure of particular poems which exhibit a dialectical tension suggests not only that the dialectic-isms exist but also that by nature they are irresolvable. Wilbur's frequent use of irony and paradox demonstrates further that the synthesis is in itself dialectical. Wilbur's use of the incarnation both as a metaphor for the poetic process and as a paradigm for a synthesis in which the two antinomies are ultimately sustained serves as the model for an ideal transcendence of the dialectic-isms of reality.