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Encyclopedia > W.S. Merwin

William Stanley Merwin was born on September 30, 1927 in New York City and grew up in Union City, New Jersey, and Scranton, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Princeton University. He lives in Hawai'i. September 30 is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 92 days remaining, as the final day of September. ... 1927 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Midtown Manhattan, looking north from the Empire State Building, 2005 New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the most populous city in the United States, and is at the center of international finance, politics, communications, music, fashion, and culture. ... Union City is a city located in Hudson County, New Jersey. ... The Scranton Electric Building, seen from the side. ... For other Princetons, see Princeton. ...



In 1952 Merwin's first book of poetry, A Mask for Janus, was published in the Yale Younger Poets Series. W.H. Auden selected the work for that distinction. Later, in 1971 Auden and Merwin would exchange harsh words in the pages of the The New York Review of Books. Merwin had published a feature, On Being Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the June 3, 1971 issue of The New York Review of Books that announced his objection to the Vietnam War and that he was donating his prize money. Auden responded in a letter entitled Saying No that appeared in the July 1, 1971 issue stating that the Pulitzer Prize jury was not a political body with any ties to the American foreign policy. 1952 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition was founded in 1919, in association with Yale University. ... Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) was an English poet. ... 1971 is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) was an English poet. ... Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) was an English poet. ...

From 1956 to 1957 Merwin was also playwright-in-residence at the Poet's Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts; he became poetry editor at The Nation in 1962. Besides being a prolific poet (he has published over fifteen volumes of his works) he is also a respected translator of Spanish, French, Italian and Latin poetry, including Dante's Purgatorio. Merwin is probably best known for his poetry about the Vietnam War, and can be included among the canon of Vietnam War-era poets which includes such luminaries as Robert Bly, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg and Yousef Komunyakaa. 1956 was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1957 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Harvard Square, May 2000 Cambridge is a city in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, United States. ... The Nation - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... 1962 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Dante in a fresco series of famous men by Andrea del Castagno, ca. ... The Vietnam War was fought from 1957 to 1975 between Soviet and Chinese-supported Vietnamese nationalist and Communist forces and an array of Western and pro-Western forces, most notably the United States. ... Robert Bly (born December 23, 1926 in Madison, Minnesota) is a United States poet. ... Adrienne Rich Adrienne Rich (born May 16, 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American feminist poet, teacher, and writer. ... Denise Levertov (October 24, 1923 - December 20, 1997) was a British born American poet. ... Robert Lowell Robert Lowell (March 1, 1917–September 12, 1977), born Robert Traill Spence Lowell, Jr. ... Allen Ginsberg in San Francisco. ...

In 1998, Merwin wrote Folding Cliffs: A Narrative, an ambitious novel-in-verse about Hawaiian history and legend. 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... State nickname: The Aloha State Other U.S. States Capital Honolulu Largest city Honolulu Governor Linda Lingle (R) Official languages Hawaiian and English Area 28,337 km² (43rd)  - Land 16,649 km²  - Water 11,672 km² (41. ...

Several of Merwin's poems, including "Green Fields", "Unknown Bird", "Term", "Any Time", and "Before the Flood", may be found at WS Merwin--Online Poems.



  • The First Four Books of Poems, 1975, 2000
    • A Mask for Janus, 1952
      1. Awarded the Yale Younger Poets Prize, 1952
    • The Dancing Bears, 1954
    • Green with Beasts, 1956
    • The Drunk in the Furance, 1960
  • The Second Four Books of Poems, 1993
    • The Moving Target, 1963
    • The Lice, 1967
    • The Carrier of Ladders, 1970
      1. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1971
    • Writings to an Unfinished Accompnaiment, 1973
  • The Compass Flower, 1977
  • Finding the Islands, 1982
  • Opening the Hand, 1983
  • The Rain in the Trees, 1988
  • Selected Poems, 1988
  • Travels, 1993
  • The Vixen, 1996
  • Flower & Hand, 1997
  • The Folding Cliffs: A Narative, 1998
  • The River Sound, 1999
  • The Pupil, 2001
  • Migration: New & Selected Poems, 2005

The Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition was founded in 1919, in association with Yale University. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-04-13, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...


  • The Miner's Pale Children, 1970
  • Houses and Travellers, 1977
  • Regions of Memory
  • Unframed Originals: Recollections, 1982
  • The Lost Uplands: Stories of Southwest France, 1992
  • The Mays of Ventadorn, 2002
  • The Ends of the Earth, 2004


  • The Poem of the Cid, 1959
  • The Satires of Persius, 1960
  • Spanish Ballads, 1961
  • Lazarillo de Tormes, 1962
  • The Song of Roland, 1963
  • Selected Translations, 1948 - 1968, 1968
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Poems by Pablo Neruda, 1969
  • Products of the Perfected Civilization, Selected Writings of Chamfort, 1969
  • Voices, Poems of Antonio Porchia, 1969, 1988, 2003
  • Transparence of the World, Poems by Jean Follain, 1969, 2003
  • Asian Figures, 1973
  • Osip Mandelstam: Selected Poems (with Clarence Brown), 1974
  • Euripedes' Iphigeneia at Aulis (with George E. Dimock, Jr.), 1978
  • Selected Translations, 1968-1978, 1979
  • Four French Plays, 1985
  • From the Spanish Morning, 1985
  • Vertical Poetry, Poems by Roberto Juarroz, 1988
  • Sun at Midnight, Poems by Musō Soseki (with Soiku Shigematsu), 1989
  • Pieces of Shadow: Selected Poems of Jaime Sabines, 1996
  • East Window: The Asian Translations, 1998
  • Purgatorio from The Divine Comedy of Dante, 2000


  • Present Company, September 2005
  • Summer Doorways: A Memoir, September 2005

Further Reading



  • "Catching Up With Maui's Most Famous Poet: At Home and at Peace In a Tropical Landscape, W.S. Merwin Enriches the Literature of Nature", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, April 21, 2001.


  • Review of Folding Cliffs: A Narrative on Amazon.com



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