Synopses & Reviews
An elaboration and response to his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Shadow of Sirius
, W.S. Merwin examines everything from minute flowers to oceanic destruction, and weaves our complex relationship with the natural world with his own youth, memory, and intense engagement with the passing of days. With considered reverence, subtle might, and generous poetic imagination, Merwin presents a masterful and gorgeous collection.
From "Wild Oats":
All the beads have gone
from the old string
and the string does not miss them
I needed my mistakes
in their own order
to get me here
In my youth I believed in somewhere else
I put faith in travel
now I am becoming my own tree
"This two-time Pulitzer winner returns with an expansion on his previous collection, The Shadow of Sirius, where themes of age, memory, childhood, and man's relationship to the natural world again dominate his signature unpunctuated, plainspoken lines: 'As the dream of summer is almost gone/ I wake to a beloved dream of autumn/ the love of my life is with me.' Here, Merwin recounts a life lived in relation to an outer world that is slowly being erased: 'Where I dug the logs into the rise/ to make the steps along the valley/ I forget how many years ago/ their wood has dissolved completely now/ disappearing into the curled slope.' In this erasure he discovers a world irrevocably changed, almost unrecognizable: 'Youth is gone from the place where I was young/ even the language that I heard here once.' But this displacement and confusion 'Ghosts of words/ circle the empty room' are Merwin's opening to a new and hard-won sense of beauty, a kind of worldly astonishment: 'it may be that the sound of a city/ is the current music of vanishing/ naturally forgetting its own song.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Merwin's masterfully refined, meditative poems stem from his dwelling mindfully in one beloved place and handling words as though they are seeds, flowers, stones, and water
.Merwin has attained a transcendent and transformative elevation of beaming perception, exquisite balance, and clarifying beauty.” Booklist, starred review
"In his personal anonymity, his strict individuated manner, his defense of the earth, and his heartache at time's passing, Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page." Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books
"W.S. Merwin's legacy is unquestionably secure: his best and most fierce poems are moody, visionary compositions that dive into the unconscious and the seeds of existence with an inwardness and scrutiny unique in American poetry." Poetry
In luscious and purposeful language, W.S. Merwin's new poems examine our essential relationships with the natural world.
About the Author
W.S. Merwin is one of the country's best-selling poets. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States, and his three most recent poetry collections each received a major award, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bobbitt Award from the Library of Congress. He lives in Hawaii.