W.S. Merwin is counted as one of the nation’s greatest living poets. He is the author of more than 50 books of his own poetry, translations of others, memoirs and more.
Merwin’s major prizes include the Pulitzer in 1970 for “The Carrier of Ladders” and the National Book Award for “Migration” in 2005. His new volume is called “The Shadow of Sirius.” Merwin’s first collection, “A Mask for Janus” (1952), was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has served as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress.
Merwin was born in New York City and raised in New Jersey and Scranton, Pa. He wrote his first verses inspired by the hymns sung at the Episcopal church where his father was a minister.
For more than 30 years, Hawaii has been Merwin’s home. He lives with his wife, Paula, in a house he designed and built at the edge of a dormant volcano on the island of Maui. There he cultivates his other life long passion: gardening.
He has contributed to numerous magazines and journals, including Nation, Harper’s, Poetry, New Yorker, Atlantic, Kenyon Review and Evergreen Review.
W.S. Merwin shares reads four of his poems in this web exclusive.