Photo by LaVerne Harrell Clark, 1975.
The legacy of Peter Wild, Professor of English at The University of Arizona for 40 years, can be found in his work as a teacher and also in his works
of poetry and nonfiction. Wild published more than 2,000 poems in his lifetime, according to colleague and friend Professor Carl Berkhout, who is
preparing Wild’s bibliography. Wild was the author or editor of well over 80 books of poetry, criticism, and nonfiction, with special emphasis on the American West.
A lovely trilogy of artists’ books, The Island Hunter, The Cavalryman, and Pioneers, was published by Tideline Press in 1978. The titles reflect Wild’s passion for the Western United States and Western frontier history, a passion also reflected in his teaching of courses like Southwestern Literature.
Wild wrote many books of free verse but loved poetic forms as well, teaching generations of University of Arizona students how to write pantoums, villanelles, and sonnets in Intermediate Poetry Writing.
His students may also remember his edict, in response to questions about contemporary poetry, that the last truly great poet in the United States was Wallace Stevens!
Getting Ready for a Date
Madison, WI: Ghost Pony
The Light on Little Mormon
. Point Reyes Station,
CA: Floating Island
. Tucson, AZ:
SUN/gemini Press, 1994.
. Kensington, CA:
New Rivers Press, 1990.
A quintessential outdoorsman—as his name would imply—Wild was well known for his scholarship on Western and Southwestern history, and particularly early conservation efforts in the American West.
Enos Mills: Western Writers
Series No. 36.
Boise State University, 1979.
These photos, taken by Bill Livingston of NOAO/National Solar Observatory, show Wild in his element, hiking in the California Sierras in 1979. We thank Dr. Livingston for permission to use the photos.
Wild was a good friend of the Poetry Center and its first director, LaVerne Harrell Clark. The author photo below, the photos at the top of the page, and Wild’s portrait on the Poetry Center’s Wall of Poets were all taken by Clark.
Chihuahua, a book of poems, contains an inscription to poet Jeremy Ingalls from both Wild and LaVerne Clark. Another book is signed by Wild “to the Poetry Center—con cariño [with affection].” The affection is returned. Adiós, compañero.
. Point Reyes
Station, CA: Floating
. Garden City,
NY: Doubleday & Co.,
of Western America
Missoula, MT: Mountain