Migration: New & Selected Poems

Overview

A powerful case can be made for declaring W.S. Merwin 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-a distillation of the best poems from a profound body of work, and including a selection of new poems.

As an undergraduate at Princeton, W.S. Merwin was advised by John Berryman to "get down on your knees and pray to the muse every day."...

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Overview

A powerful case can be made for declaring W.S. Merwin 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-a distillation of the best poems from a profound body of work, and including a selection of new poems.

As an undergraduate at Princeton, W.S. Merwin was advised by John Berryman to "get down on your knees and pray to the muse every day." Over the last fifty years, Merwin's poetry moved beyond the traditional verse of his early years to revolutionary open forms that engaged a vast array of influences and possibilities. As Adrienne Rich wrote of W.S. Merwin's work: "I would be shamelessly jealous of this poetry, if I didn't take so much from it into my own life."

Winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mystical formalist, elegant romantic, Vietnam-era protester, translator, maker of sweet memoirs and uneasy dreamscapes, and ecological activist, Merwin has been so prominent for so long that it's hard to believe this rich selection represents the work of just one man. The earliest Merwin-a melancholy 1950s craftsman-gets the first 70 pages, including the bejeweled verse fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Sun." The haunting free verse of the next two decades includes the sad, urgent protest poems of The Lice (1967) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Carrier of Ladders (1970). Merwin's attraction to instinct and mystery drew his poems toward totemic, resonant images, in lines which imitated chants and prayers. The Rain in the Trees (1988) concerned the forests and coasts of Hawaii, where the poet still lives. His longer, more recent works offer personal memories; "Testimony" (from 1999's The River Sound) takes 56 pages to run through the poet's whole life. Even there-and in the few, lyrical, controlled new poems at the very end of the volume-Merwin retains a sense of terse whispering, and a graceful attraction to silence; his verse comes, if anyone's does, from "the eye of the mind where we know/ from the beginning that the darkness/ is beyond us." (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Elegant yet evocative, intellectually challenging yet utterly uninterested in experimental excess, the poems in this collection represent Merwin's efforts to perfect his craft over five fruitful decades. "What you do not have you will find/ everywhere," and you will find everything here. A National Book Award winner. (LJ 3/1/05) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592614
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Pages: 570
  • Sales rank: 434,409
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

W.S. Merwin is one of America's leading poets. His prizes include the 2005 National Book Award for his collected poems, Migration, the Pulitzer Prize, the Stevens Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and Lannan Foundation. He is the author of dozens of books of poetry and translations. He lives in Hawaii, where he cultivates endangered palm trees.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2006

    W.S. Merwin A Poet of Vision and Connection

    At last there is a significantly large volume of the majestic poetry of W.S. Merwin. Not that all of his other volumes of poems published through the years by Copper Canyon Press have been minor: the length of the books does not begin to mimic the towering power of his work. But here in MIGRATION: NEW & SELECTED POEMS we have enough of his life's work to truly appreciated the fact that he is an exceptional thinker, artist, involved human being, as well as a gifted man of letters. Winning the National Book Award in 2005 this volume belongs in the collection of everyone concerned with great literature and great poetry. Spanning from the past forty odd years of writing, the collection presents some of his finest older works as well as introducing some of the mystical new works that edge him toward Poet Laureate of America. Example: LARK In the hour that has no friends/ above it/ you become yourself/ voice/ black/ star burning in cold heaven/ speaking well of it/ as it falls from you/ upward/ Fire/ by day/ with no country/ where and at what height/ can it begin/ I the shadow/ singing I/ the light This book is rich in such wonders. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 06

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2006

    Marvelous

    W.S. Merwin is an amazing writer. I'm grateful that Auden selected his first book of poetry for the Young Yale Series Competition years ago. Merwin is a remarkable writer, touching on subjects of great importance. He writes beautiful lines that are fused with important themes. I am impressed and feel like this is a generous collection. He is inspiring in terms of his insight into the natural world around him. I am pleased to hear that he won an award for this book of new and selected poems. It is superb.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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