W. S. Merwin is a Pulitzer Prize winning modern American poet and essayist. He was born in New York City in 1927, the son of a Presbyterian minister for whom he wrote hymns at the age of five. Merwin was raised in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He graduated from Princeton in 1947. From 1949 to 1951, He went to Europe and became a literary translator. He began writing poetry with formal and medieval overtones as he was influenced by Robert Graves and the poetry he translated. In the late 1950s, he wrote with a more American voice, after his two years in Boston, where he met Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Adrienne Rich. Merwin holds anti-imperialist, pacifist, and environmentalist views. In his writings, he pays close attention to the way in which land and language interflow.

His first book, A Mask for Janus was published in 1952. His book of poems, entitled The Carrier of Ladders won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970. Other books are The Drunk in the Furnace, The Moving Target, The Lice, Flower & Hand, The Compass Flower, Feathers from the Hill, Opening the Hand, The Rain in the Trees, Travels, The Vixen, The Lost Upland, Unframed Originals, The Folding Cliffs, The RiverSound and The Pupil. He lives and works in Hawaii.


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