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Hecht was the author of ten books of poems, and winner of the Prix de Rome (1951), Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1968), Bollingen Prize (1983), Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1988), and Frost Medal (2000). He was U.S. Poet Laureate from 1982-84. He was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2004.
Hecht's books of poems include A Summoning of Stones (1954), The Hard Hours (1967), The Venetian Vespers (1979), The Darkness and the Light (2001), and the posthumous Collected Later Poems (2005). He translated Aeschylus, and also published four books of criticism,including a study of W.H. Auden.
Hecht was drafted into the army in 1944, serving in Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, and helping to liberate Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, an experience that led to post traumatic stress disorder, a breakdown, and hospitalization in 1959.
A master of traditional verse forms, he is credited as one of the inventors of the double dactyl, a form of light verse. Hecht taught at a number of colleges, including the University of Rochester, Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown University.
Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Six poems.