The Essential W.S. Merwin
Author: W.S. Merwin
Editor: Michael Wiegers
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (2017)
The Essential W.S. Merwin traces a poetic legacy that has changed the landscape of American letters: seven decades of audacity, rigor, and candor distilled into one definite volume curated to represent the very best works from a vast oeuvre, from his 1952 debut, A Mask for Janus, to 2016’s Garden Time. The Essential W.S. Merwin includes favorite poems from two Pulitzer Prize-winning volumes; a selection of iconic translations; and lesser-known prose narratives. As the formalism of Merwin’s early work loosens into the open, unpunctuated style he developed later in his career—when urgent times demanded innovative modes of expression—readers can trace the evolution of one voice’s commitment to moral, spiritual, and aesthetic inquiry. Across the decades, beyond headlines, policies, and trends, W.S. Merwin’s poems point to the lessons that hide in the shadows of sentience.