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The Collected Poems of W.S. Merwin (Library of America)

The Collected Poems of W.S. Merwin (Library of America)

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The Collected Poems of W.S. Merwin (Library of America) Short Description


Oracular and elegant, W. S. Merwin’s poetry reveals a heightened sense of what is essential to human consciousness: the fragile framing of nature, the mysteries of memory and perception, the inescapable fact of our mortality. In a career spanning seven decades— from his brilliant emergence as the winner of the Yale Younger Poets’ Prize in 1952 to his recent term as U.S. Poet Laureate—he has fashioned a poetics unmistakably his own, marked by a stripped-down, unpunctuated style that foregrounds his responsiveness, spiritual insights, and facility with unadorned, elemental language. Now, with this two-volume edition, Merwin becomes only the second living poet to have his work collected by The Library of America. Here are such landmark books as his debut volume A Mask for Janus (1952), which shows the young poet engaged in a fruitful dialogue with Auden and Berryman; The Lice (1967), with its impassioned political poems about the Vietnam War and ecological catastrophe; The Vixen (1996), which offers vivid recollections of southwestern France; the epic verse novel The Folding Cliffs (2008), set in nineteenth-century Hawaii; and The Shadow of Sirius (2008), with its “late poems / that are made of words / that have come the whole way / they have been there.”

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