Selected Poems

W.S. Merwin


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Bloodaxe Books Ltd
10 May 2007
ISBN: 9781852247690
192 pages

From the publisher

W.S. Merwin was arguably the most influential American poet of the last half-century - an artist who transfigured and reinvigorated the vision of poetry for our time. While he was long viewed in the States as an essential voice in modern American literature, his poetry was unavailable in Britain for over 35 years until Bloodaxe published this edition of his Selected Poems in 2007. This new selection covers over five decades of his poetry, from The Dancing Bears (1954) to Present Company (2005). Most of the book is drawn from his major American retrospective, Migration, winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry. It was followed in 2009 by The Shadow of Sirius, which won him a second Pulitzer Prize, and then by The Moon Before Morning (2014) and Garden Time (2016). Merwin's poetry has moved beyond the traditional verse of his early years to revolutionary open forms that engage a vast array of influences and possibilities. As Adrienne Rich wrote of his work: 'I would be shamelessly jealous of this poetry, if I didn't take so much from it into my own life.' His recent poetry is perhaps his most personal, arising from his deeply held beliefs. Merwin is not only profoundly anti-imperialist, pacifist and environmentalist, but also possessed by an intimate feeling for landscape and language and the ways in which land and language interflow. His latest poems are densely imagistic, dream-like, and full of praise for the natural world.