An evening with poet W.S.Merwin | Los Angeles Public Library
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An evening with poet W.S.Merwin

Monday, April 4, 2005
Episode Summary
In a career spanning five decades, W.S. Merwin, lauded poet, translator, and environmental activist, has become one of the most widely read poets in America.

Participant(s) Bio
W.S.Merwin was born in 1927 the son of a Presbyterian minister for whom he began writing hymns at the age of five. As a young man, from 1949 to 1951, W.S. Merwin went to Europe and discovered a love of languages that led to work as a literary translator. Over the years, his poetic voice has moved from the more formal and medieval - influenced somewhat by Robert Graves and the medieval poetry he was then translating - to a more distinctly American voice, following his two years in Boston where he got to know Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Adrienne Rich and Donald Hall, all of whom were breaking out of the rhetoric of the 1950s. W.S. Merwin's recent poetry is perhaps his most personal, arising from his deeply held beliefs. He 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.