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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."
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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J. D. McClatchy (1945-2018), volume editor, was the author of many books of poetry and essays, including Plundered Hearts: New and Selected Poems (2014), and the editor of nine Library of America publications. He wrote the libretto for Ned Rorem's operatic version of Our Town, taught at Yale University, and served as editor of The Yale Review.
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