W.S. Merwin (b. 1927)

A selective list of online literary criticism for American poet and translator W.S. Merwin, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

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introduction & biography

An introduction to W.S. Merwin includes brief excerpts of reputable critical discussions of some poems: On "The Drunk in the Furnace"; On "It Is March"; Broadside Version of "For a Coming Extinction"; Manuscript Versions of "Caesar"; On "The Room"; On "December Among the Vanished"; On "For the Anniversary of My Death"; On "The Asians Dying"; The First Draft of "The Asians Dying"; On "For a Coming Extinction"; On "Looking for Mushrooms at Sunrise"; On "The Gardens of Zuni"; About John Wesley Powell--Background to "The Gardens of Zuni"; On "Beginning" ; On "Sun and Rain"; Merwin's "Notes for a Preface"; On "The Horse"; Merwin--On Political Poetry ; Merwin--On Ecology; About the Vietnam War; Merwin--"What is American about American Poetry?"; Merwin on Poetic Meaning and Translating Dante. Ed. Cary Nelson. Modern American Poetry (U of Illinois).

"W. S. Merwin." Biography, selected poems, links to related poets. Academy of American Poets.

"W. S. Merwin." Poetry Foundation. Ed. Catherine Halley. Biography, introduction to Merwin's themes and techniques, selected poems.

To sleep among icicles. On W.S. Merwin's "brave attempt to modernise Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." The Guardian, 21 February 2004.

"A master gardener of verse." By Elizabeth Lund, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 April 2003.

"Armchair Traveler: W.S. Merwin." Merwin discusses his time in the French countryside in the 1950s. Audio clip, National Public Radio, 7 Aug. 2003.

"W.S. Merwin." A web page from Merwin's publisher, with blurbs on several of his books.

The New York Times page on W.S. Merwin has Times reviews of his books from 1957-1993 and news articles on Merwin.

literary criticism

Cook, Albert. "Metrical inventions: Zukofsky and Merwin." College Literature 24, 3, Diversity and American Poetries (Oct., 1997), pp. 70-83 [free at jstor].

Howard, Richard. A review of The Vixen (Alfred A. Knopf). Poet Richard Howard compares the work to Tennyson's In Memorium. The Boston Review, Summer 1996.

Frazier, Jane. "Lost Origins: W. S. Merwin's Poems of Division." Discusses W.S. Merwin and the natural world: "To Merwin, the ideological and physical distance between ourselves and nature that we have increasingly created has divided us from our most important psychic resource and the basis of our Being." Weber Studies 14, 2 (Spring/Summer 1997).

Frazier, Jane. "Writing outside the self: the disembodied narrators of W.S. Merwin.". Style, Summer, 1996 [Questia subscription service.

Lerner, Ben. A review of Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press 2005). "The publication of Migration: New and Selected Poems provides us with the opportunity to track in a single volume W.S. Merwin's evolution from traditional verse forms to unpunctuated lyrics that, at their best, seem to hover just above the page like heat above the highway." Jacket Magazine 28 (Oct. 2005).

Scigaj, Leonard. Sustainable Poetry: Four Ecopoets. Focusing on the work of A.R. Ammons, Wendell Berry, W.S. Merwin, and Gary Snyder [online book through jstor].

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