O.B. Hardison, Jr.

O.B. Hardison, Jr. (1928–1990) was a poet, teacher, essayist, and author of several books with subjects ranging from Aristotle, to Homer, to culture and technology in the twentieth century. As Director of the Folger, he originated such programs as the Folger Poetry Series, the Folger Theatre, and the Folger Consort, as well as K-12 educational programs and the Folger Institute. During his tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was featured in Time magazine as one of the country’s greatest teachers.

“The tradition of poetry is not that of the First, Second, or Third World. It is a tradition linking each of us through language to a place, a society, and a history, and through these, to all other inhabitants of this anguished planet. It is the tradition of the Fourth World, the world of art, that encompasses the first three worlds and remains one of their brightest hopes.”


I think of the sea changing and changing.

There is a long swell moving in from the Azores

Awash on the gray sand.

The sky unfolds into the water.

At Holden, Long Beach, Wilmington, Ocean Isle, Hatteras, Nags Head

The Outer Banks are ringing with explosions of light.

Clouds blossom in the water and the shore flames with the glory of their opening '

As though God were making the world again.

Here I am, where the gentle sea touches the land,

And every name is new,

And every name is another name for the sea.

O.B. Hardison, Jr.