Best Selling Books by WS Merwin

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release date: Jul 03, 2012
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Walden and Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau reflects on life, politics, and society in these two inspiring masterworks.

In 1845, Thoreau moved to a cabin that he built with his own hands along the shores of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Shedding the trivial ties that he felt bound much of humanity, Thoreau reaped from the land both physically and mentally, and pursued truth in the quiet of nature. In Walden, he explains how separating oneself from the world of men can truly awaken the sleeping self. Thoreau holds fast to the notion that you have not truly existed until you adopt such a lifestyle—and only then can you reenter society, as an enlightened being.
 
These simple but profound musings—as well as “Civil Disobedience,” his protest against the government’s interference with civil liberty—have inspired many to embrace his philosophy of individualism and love of nature. More than a century and a half later, his message is more timely than ever.
 
With an Introduction by W.S. Merwin
and an Afterword by Will Howarth
release date: Aug 29, 2017
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The Essential W.S. Merwin

The Essential W.S. Merwin beautifully demonstrates why Merwin has been one of America’s most decorated and important poets for more than 60 years.”—The Washington Post

“Merwin is one of the great poets of our age.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page; he has made for himself that most difficult of all creations, an accomplished style.”—Helen Vendler, New York Review of Books

“It is gratifying to read poetry that is this ambitious, that cares about vision and the possibilities of poetry, by a poet who is capable of so much change.”—The Nation



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.

“Poetry is a way of looking at the world for the first time.”—W.S. Merwin

Noah’s Raven

Why should I have returned?

My knowledge would not fit into theirs.

I found untouched the desert of the unknown,

Big enough for my feet. It is my home.

It is always beyond them. The future

Splits the present with the echo of my voice.

Hoarse with fulfillment. I never made promises.



Since launching his career by winning the Yale Younger Poets Award 1952, W. S. Merwin has authored dozens of books of poetry, prose, and translation. A beloved voice in American literature, Merwin is a former U.S. Poet Laureate and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Hawaii, within the palm forest where he wrote, “On the last day of the world I would want to plant a tree.”

release date: Dec 26, 2006
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Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Spanish and English Edition)
The most popular work by Chile's Nobel Prize-winning poet, soon to be the subject of Pablo Larraín's acclaimed feature film Neruda starring Gael García Bernal

When it appeared in 1924, this work launched into the international spotlight a young and unknown poet whose writings would ignite a generation. W. S. Merwin’s incomparable translation faces the original Spanish text. Now in a black-spine Classics edition with an introduction by Cristina Garcia, this book stands as an essential collection that continues to inspire lovers and poets around the world.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
release date: May 30, 2017
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The Lice

This Fiftieth Anniversary edition celebrates one of the most ground-breaking books in American poetry. When first published in 1967, W.S. Merwin’s The Lice was ground-breaking. Its visionary urgency directly engaged the nexus of aesthetics and morality, exerting an immediate and lasting effect on the writing and reading of poetry. Like all great art, this monumental work continues to inspire.

As Merwin discussed in an interview, “The Lice was written at a time when I really felt there was no point in writing. I got to the point where I thought the future was so bleak that there was no point in writing anything at all. And so the poems kind of pushed their way upon me. I would be out growing vegetables and walking around the countryside when all of a sudden I’d find myself writing a poem, and I’d write it.”

When the War is Over

When the war is over
We will be proud of course the air will be
Good for breathing at last
The water will have been improved the salmon
And the silence of heaven will migrate more perfectly
The dead will think the living are worth it we will know
Who we are
And we will all enlist again

W.S. Merwin is one of America’s greatest poets. His recent books of poems have been honored with a Pulitzer prize, a National Book Award, and the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. He lives in Hawaii.

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release date: Jan 28, 2017
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Garden Time
W.S. Merwin is arguably the most influential American poet of the last half-century - an artist who has transfigured and reinvigorated the vision of poetry for our time. An essential voice in modern American literature, he was United States Poet Laureate in 2010-11. This new collection written in his late-80s finds him deeply immersed in reflection on the passage of time and the frailty and sustaining power of memory. Telegraphing between past and present, he shows us a powerful and moving vision of the eternal, focusing on images of mornings, sunsets, shifting seasons, stars, birds and insects to capture the connectedness of time, space and the natural world. In a poem about Li Po, 'now there is only the river / that was always on its own way'. In another poem he dreams that 'the same river is still here / the house is the old house and I am here in the morning / in the sunlight and the same bird is singing'. He remembers when 'dragonflies were as common as sunlight / hovering in their own days' and recalls 'a house that had been left to its own silence / for half a century'. In a poem of wonder entitled 'Variations to the Accompaniment of a Cloud', he writes: 'I keep looking for what has always been mine / searching for it even as I / think of leaving it.'
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release date: Sep 01, 2007
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Migration: New & Selected Poems

Named one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times.

Winner of the National Book Award for Poetry

Named by O as one of the "20 Books of Poetry Everyone Should Own"

“The poems in Migration speak a life-long belief in the power of words to awaken our drowsy souls and see the world with compassionate interconnection.”—National Book Award judges’ statement

“The publication of W. S. Merwin’s selected and new poems is one of those landmark events in the literary world.”—Los Angeles Times

W. S. Merwin is the most influential American poet of the last half-century—an artist who has transfigured and reinvigorated the vision of poetry for our time. Migration: New and Selected Poems is that case. This 540-page distillation—selected by Merwin from fifteen diverse volumes—is a gathering of the best poems from a profound body of work, accented by a selection of distinctive new poems.

As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Merwin was advised by John Berryman to “get down on your knees and pray to the muse every day.” Migration represents the bounty of those prayers. Over the last fifty years, Merwin’s muse has led him beyond the formal verse of his early years to revolutionary open forms that engage a vast array of influences and possibilities. As Adrienne Rich wrote of Merwin’s work: “I would be shamelessly jealous of this poetry, if I didn’t take so much from it into my own life.”

W. S. Merwin is the author of over fifty books of poetry, prose, and translation. He lives in Hawaii, where he raises endangered palm trees.


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release date: Jul 28, 2006
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Summer Doorways: A Memoir
America today is a mobile society. Many of us travel abroad, and few of us live in the towns or cities where we were born. It wasn't always so. “Travel from America to Europe became a commonplace, an ordinary commodity, some time ago, but when I first went such departure was still surrounded with an atmosphere of adventure and improvisation, and my youth and inexperience and my all but complete lack of money heightened that vertiginous sensation,” writes W. S. Merwin. Twenty-one, married and graduated from Princeton, the poet embarked on his first visit to Europe in 1948 when life and traditions on the continent were still adjusting to the postwar landscape. Summer Doorways captures Merwin at a similarly pivotal time before he won the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1952 for his first book, A Mask for Janus—the moment was, as the author writes, “an entire age just before it was gone, like a summer.”
release date: Dec 01, 2015
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The Moon Before Morning

"Merwin has attained a transcendent and transformative elevation of beaming perception, exquisite balance, and clarifying beauty."—Booklist, starred review

"In his personal anonymity, his strict individuated manner, his defense of the earth, and his heartache at time's passing, Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page."—Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books

"W.S. Merwin's legacy is unquestionably secure."—Poetry

"Merwin is tackling the mysteries of life and impending death with a grace and dexterity of imagination that leaves one of any age wondering if this is more than simply poetry, but bordering on prophecy."—Eliot Schain, Poetry Flash

Two-time Pulitzer winner W.S. Merwin is one of the best-selling poets in America. In his new book, The Moon Before Morning, Merwin examines everything from minute flowers to oceanic destruction, and weaves our complex relationship with the natural world with his own youth, memory, and intense engagement with the passing of days. With considered reverence, subtle might, and generous poetic imagination, Merwin presents a masterful collection.

From "Antique Sound":

There was an age when you played the records
with ordinary steel needles which grew blunt
and damaged the grooves or with more expensive
stylus tips said to be tungsten or diamond
which wore down the records and the music receded
but a friend and I had it on persuasive authority
that the best thing was a dry thorn of the right kind
and I knew where to find one of those…

W.S. Merwin served as Poet Laureate of the United States and has received every major literary accolade, including two Pulitzer prizes, most recently for The Shadow of Sirius, and the National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems.

release date: Jul 31, 2003
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In Parenthesis (New York Review Books)
"This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt, and was part of": with quiet modesty, David Jones begins a work that is among the most powerful imaginative efforts to grapple with the carnage of the First World War, a book celebrated by W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot as one of the masterpieces of modern literature. Fusing poetry and prose, gutter talk and high music, wartime terror and ancient myth, Jones, who served as an infantryman on the Western Front, presents a picture at once panoramic and intimate of a world of interminable waiting and unforeseen death. And yet throughout he remains alert to the flashes of humanity that light up the wasteland of war.
release date: Oct 01, 2009
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The Shadow of Sirius

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Featured on NPR's "Fresh Air" and "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS.

Honored as one of the "Best Books of the Year" from Publishers Weekly.

"A collection of luminous, often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory." —Pulitzer Prize Committee

"In his personal anonymity, his strict individuated manner, his defense of the earth, and his heartache at time's passing, Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page; he has made for himself that most difficult of creations, an accomplished style." —Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books

“Merwin is one of the great poets of our age.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[The Shadow of Sirius is] the very best of all Merwin: I have been reading William since 1952, and always with joy." —Harold Bloom

"[Merwin's] best book in a decade—and one of the best outright... The poems... feel fresh and awake with a simplicity that can only be called wisdom." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Merwin's gentle wisdom and attentiveness to the world are alive as ever. These deeply reflective meditations move through light and darkness, old love and turning seasons to probe the core of human existence." —Orion

"[The Shadow of Sirius] shows the earthly possibilities of simple completeness in a writer's mature work. More than an achievement in poetry, this is an achievement in writing." —Harvard Review

The nuanced mysteries of light, darkness, presence, and memory are central themes in W.S. Merwin’s new book of poems. “I have only what I remember,” Merwin admits, and his memories are focused and profound—the distinct qualities of autumn light, a conversation with a boyhood teacher, well-cultivated loves, and “our long evenings and astonishment.” In “Photographer,” Merwin presents the scene where armloads of antique glass negatives are saved from a dumpcart by “someone who understood.” In “Empty Lot,” Merwin evokes a child lying in bed at night, listening to the muffled dynamite blasts of coal mining near his home, and we can’t help but ask: How shall we mine our lives?

somewhere the Perseids are falling
toward us already at a speed that would
burn us alive if we could believe it
but in the stillness after the rain ends
nothing is to be heard but the drops falling

W.S. Merwin, author of over fifty books, is America’s foremost poet. His last two books were honored with major literary awards: Migration won the National Book Award, and Present Company received the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress.


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