W.S. Merwin (1927-2019)

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Pultizer Prize-winning poet W.S. (William Stanley) Merwin has passed away at the age of 91.

The author of more than 50 books, including poetry, prose, essays, and translations, Merwin was known both for his work and his activism.  He was first awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for his collection The Carrier of Ladders, but, in an act of protest against the Vietnam War, he refused the prize purse, requesting that it instead be donated to peace activism and draft resistance.  Merwin would later be awarded a second Pulitzer, as well as a National Book Award and other honors.

Later in life, Merwin turned the focus of his activism, as well as the topic of much of his poetry, toward the natural world.  He bought up several small adjoining parcels of barren land on the island of Maui, Hawaii, and worked to remove invasive plants and cultivate a palm forest.  He built his home there, and continued to live and work there with his wife, Paula, until her death in 2017.  Together, they created the Merwin Conservancy, a non-profit organization that would preserve the natural landscape Merwin had worked so hard to create, and advocate for the advancement of literature through such programs as a residency for artists on the property.  The Conservancy, headed by Merwin's stepson, Matthew Carlos Schwartz, will continue to work to bring those plans to fruition.

In his later years, Merwin had lost much of his eyesight due to macular degeneration, and though he still wrote occasionally, it has been three years since his final original collection of poetry, Garden Time, was released.  Merwin died peacefully in his sleep on March 15th, 2019.

The Shadow of Sirius Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556593109
Availability: Backordered
Published: Copper Canyon Press - October 2009

Garden Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556594991
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Copper Canyon Press - September 13th, 2016

Migration: New & Selected Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556592614
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - September 2007

Present Company Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556592331
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - June 2007

The Vixen Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780679766018
Availability: Special Order - Check for Availability
Published: Knopf - March 25th, 1997

The Moon Before Morning Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781556594533
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Copper Canyon Press - March 18th, 2014

The Ends of the Earth: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619027480
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - September 13th, 2016

Summer Doorways: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781593761189
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Counterpoint LLC - September 2006