Best Selling Books by WS Merwin

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Present Company

release date: Jun 01, 2007
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Present Company
Paperback of WS Merwin's most recent volume, a book infused with "buoyancy and light." (Booklist)

The Song of Roland

release date: Apr 20, 2011
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The Song of Roland
A contemporary prose rendering of the great medieval French epic, The Song of Roland is as canonical and significant as the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. It extols the chivalric ideals in the France of Charlemagne through the exploits of Charlemagne's nephew, the warrior Roland, who fights bravely to his death in a legendary battle. Against the bloody backdrop of the struggle between Christianity and Islam, The Song of Roland remains a vivid portrayal of medieval life, knightly adventure, and feudal politics. The first great literary works of a culture are its epic chronicles, those that create simple hero-figures about whom the imagination of a nation can crystallize, observed V. S. Pritchett. The Song of Roland is animated by the crusading spirit and fortified by national and religious propaganda. This edition features W. S. Merwin's glowing, lyrical translation.

Summer Doorways

release date: Dec 01, 2015
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Summer Doorways
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."

The Ends of the Earth

release date: Aug 09, 2016
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The Ends of the Earth
W. S. Merwin is widely acknowledged as one of the finest living poets in English. Less well known is the power and range of his work in prose. For his first new prose collection in more than ten years, The Ends of the Earth, Merwin has gathered eight essays that show the breadth of his imagination and sympathy. A memoir of George Kirstein, publisher of "The Nation," stands alongside one of Sydney Parkinson, explorer, naturalist and artist on Captain James Cook’s Endeavour. A wonderful portrait of the French explorer of Hawai’i, Jean-Francois Galaup de La Perouse is followed by a visit to the Neanderthal skeleton of Boffia Bonneval. There are treks through the Hawaiian forests, to the Holy Mountain of Athos, and with the butterflies in Mexico. For this magical and wondrous journey we have as our guide the excited and concise poet-naturalist, writing at the top of his form.

Selected Translations

release date: Jul 01, 2015
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Selected Translations
"Selected Translations" is the crowning achievement for one of the world's greatest and most prolific translators of poetry. Absolutely essential.

W.S. Merwin's Other Career

The Moon Before Morning

release date: Sep 15, 2015
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The Moon Before Morning
In luscious and purposeful language, W.S. Merwin's new poems examine our essential relationships with the natural world.

Unframed Originals

release date: Apr 20, 2019
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Unframed Originals
In this haunting, elegantly written memoir, W. S. Merwin recalls in utterly unsentimental prose his youth, growing up in a repressed Presbyterian household in the small river towns of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The complex portrait that emerges of a family without language or history, transforms the story of their isolated lives into the development of a writer's conscience and a warning about the fate of a middle class eager to obliterate origins. "This book is superbly written, offering deep glimpses into the complexities and mysteries of family bonds, with just that distancing from people and events necessary for artistic control."—Edmund Fuller, Wall Street Journal

The Rain in the Trees

release date: May 01, 1987
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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.

Garden Time

release date: Mar 31, 2020
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Garden Time
W.S. Merwin's final book, brimming with longing, loss, and unanswerable questions.
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