Meet the Poets: W.S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin
1971, 2009 Pulitzer Prize Poetry
2010 United States Poet Laureate

“Any work of art makes one very simple demand on anyone who genuinely wants to get in touch with it. And that is to stop. You’ve got to stop what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, and what you’re expecting and just be there for the poem for however long it takes.” — W.S. Merwin.

30+ books of Poetry, Translation, and Prose

William Stanley Merwin (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) is an American poet, credited with over 30 books of poetry, translation and prose. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin’s unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration.

Buddhist philosophy and Deep Ecology Influences

In the 1980s and 1990s, Merwin’s writing influence derived from his interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in Hawaii, he writes prolifically and is dedicated to the restoration of the islands’ rainforests.

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1971 and 2009)

Merwin has received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in both 1971 and 2009) and the Tanning Prize, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Golden Wreath of the Struga Poetry Evenings.

United States Poet Laureate 2010

In 2010, the Library of Congress named Merwin the seventeenth United States Poet Laureate to replace the outgoing Kay Ryan. Note: Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate or Poet Laureate of the United States.

More information can be found at

Photo Source: Fair use of book cover of ” W.S. Merwin: Selected Poems.”

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