In July of 2010, the Library of Congress named W.S. Merwin to serve at the 17th Poet Laureate of the United States. LIVE from the NYPL is honored to welcome W.S. Merwin for a far-ranging conversation with Paul Holdengräber on his extraordinary career as a poet and translator and to read some of his earliest and some of his most recent work. Please join us in celebrating W.S. Merwin before his upcoming reading at the Library of Congress as Poet Laureate.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
W. S. Merwin
Since the publication of his first book of poems in 1954, W.S. Merwin has been one of America's most prolific and celebrated poets and translators. His volumes have earned him numerous honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes, in 1970 for The Carrier of Ladders and in 2009 for The Shadow of Sirius. Most recently, Merwin was named United States Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress. In addition to his work as a poet, Merwin has been a translator of Latin, French, Spanish and Italian literature, among others. A Zen Buddhist who has spent the past decades living in Hawaii, Merwin is a dedicated environmentalist. Along with his wife Paula, Merwin maintains a 19 acre property where he grows over 800 species of palm, a sustainable forest now known as the Merwin Conservancy.
John Burnham Schwartz
John Burnham Schwartz is the author of four acclaimed novels, including The Commoner and Reservation Road. His fifth novel, Northwest Corner, will be published in August 2011. W.S. Merwin is his stepfather.
(born Sept. 30, 1927, New York, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. poet and translator. He attended Princeton University and earned critical acclaim with his first poetry collection, A Mask for Janus (1952). He became known for the spare style of his poetry, which often expresses concerns about the natural environment and our relation to it. His volumes include The Lice (1967), The Carrier of Ladders (1970, Pulitzer Prize), and Travels (1993). His translations, often collaborations with others, range from plays of Euripides and Federico García Lorca to epics to ancient and modern works from Chinese, Sanskrit, and Japanese.