Best Selling Books by WS Merwin

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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: 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: Sep 13, 2016
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Garden Time

"There are few great poets alive at any one time, and W.S. Merwin is one of them. Read him." —The Guardian

"There are few great poets alive at any one time, and W.S. Merwin is one of them. Read him." —The Guardian

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

"Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page." —Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books

W.S. Merwin composed Garden Time during the difficult process of losing his eyesight. When he could no longer see well enough to write, he dictated his new poems to his wife, Paula. In this gorgeous, mindful, and life-affirming book, our greatest poet channels energy from animated sounds and memories to remind us that "the only hope is to be the daylight."

From "A Breath of Day":

Last night I slept on the floor of the sea
in an unsounded part of the ocean
in the morning it was a long way up
through the dark streets of a silent country
with no language in its empty houses
until I had almost reached the surface
of a morning that I had never seen
then a breeze came to it and I began
to remember the voices of young leaves . . .

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 (Copper Canyon), and the National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon). He lives in Hawaii.


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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 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: 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: 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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release date: May 16, 2013
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W.S. Merwin: Collected Poems 1996-2011: (Library of America #241)
Here is the second volume in a definitive, career-spanning two-volume edition of the poems of the former U.S. Poet Laureate, which is also available as a deluxe boxed set, The Collected Poems of W. S. Merwin (described below).

Oracular and elegant, W. S. Merwin’s poetry reveals a heightened sense of what is essential to human consciousness: the fragile framing of nature, the mysteries of memory and perception, the inescapable fact of our mortality. In a career spanning seven decades— from his brilliant emergence as the winner of the Yale Younger Poets’ Prize in 1952 to his recent term as U.S. Poet Laureate—he has fashioned a poetics unmistakably his own, marked by a stripped-down, unpunctuated style that foregrounds his responsiveness, spiritual insights, and facility with unadorned, elemental language. Now, with this two-volume edition, Merwin becomes only the second living poet to have his work collected by The Library of America. Here are such landmark books as his debut volume A Mask for Janus (1952), which shows the young poet engaged in a fruitful dialogue with Auden and Berryman; The Lice (1967), with its impassioned political poems about the Vietnam War and ecological catastrophe; The Vixen (1996), which offers vivid recollections of southwestern France; the epic verse novel The Folding Cliffs (2008), set in nineteenth-century Hawaii; and The Shadow of Sirius (2008), with its “late poems / that are made of words / that have come the whole way / they have been there.”
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release date: Mar 12, 1988
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The Rain in the Trees
A literary event—a new volume of poems by one of the masters of modern poetry—The Rain in the Trees is W. S. Merwin's first book since the publication five years ago of his Opening the Hand.

Almost no other poet of our time has been able to voice in so subtle a fashion such a profound series of comments on the passing of history over the contemporary scene. To do this, he seems to have reinvented the poem—so that the experience of reading Merwin is unlike the reading of any other poetry. In such famous books as The Lice, The Moving Target and (most recently) Opening the Hand, he has produced a body of work of great profundity and power made from the simplest and most beautiful poetic speech.

The poems in this new book are concerned with intimacy and wholeness, and are made of the relations with people, with places, past and present, and with history and how the world endures it.

Merwin can now rightfully be called a master, and this book shows in every way why this is the case.
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release date: Mar 28, 2000
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The Folding Cliffs: A Narrative
From a major American poet -- a thrilling story, in verse, of nineteenth-century Hawaii. The story of an attempt by the government to seize and constrain possible victims of leprosy and the determination of one small family not to be taken. A tale of the perils and glories of their flight into the wilds of the island of Kauai, pursued by a gunboat full of soldiers.

A brilliant capturing -- inspired by the poet's respect for the people of these islands -- of their life, their history, the gods and goddesses of their mythic past. A somber revelation of the wrecking of their culture through the exploitative incursions of Europeans and Americans. An epic narrative that enthralls with the grandeur of its language and of its vision.
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