Preparing Boys for Life

W.D. Ehrhart shares poetry and stories at 21st annual Edward R. Hallowell Literary Lecture

In his final year as an Upper School English and history teacher, W.D. Ehrhart served as the 21st annual Edward R. Hallowell Literary Lecture speaker. Ehrhart recited several of his poems, and shared the stories that inspired his writing, to a standing-room only audience on April 23. 

“Giving the Hallowell lecture was a high point – perhaps the high point – of both my career as a teacher, and as a poet,” said Ehrhart.

Ehrhart’s lecture marked the first time a current faculty member was invited to serve as the Hallowell speaker. The next day, Ehrhart recited poems to an Upper School assembly and held a masterclass with more than 50 English and history students.

“Former students and community members came from far and wide to celebrate W.D Ehrhart's unique poetic voice,” said Tom Stambaugh, English Department Chair. “For years students have responded to the raw power of his honest humanity, and the lecture allowed a wider range of literature enthusiasts to glimpse how he channels love, rage, friendship, and a curious engagement with the world into accessible, searing poems.”

Ehrhart’s lecture featured many of the works he is known for, including those focusing on his time in Vietnam. He also recited poems that provided a look at his life, including his daughter’s childhood, and time spent with friends and family. He also reflected on his time teaching at Haverford.

Ehrhart is the author of 18 books of poetry and prose, and a dozen poetry chapbooks. He’s also served as the editor or co-editor of four anthologies. His most recent book, Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems of W.D. Ehrhart was published in early 2019. Since 2001, he taught English and history at Haverford. He is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year.