Selected Translations

W.S. Merwin

Selected Translations is a life’s work from one of America’s greatest poets and translators. Since his undergraduate years at Princeton University, W.S. Merwin has always placed translation as a necessary element of his own poetry. Working from a belief that there is “no separation between the human imagination and the rest of life,” Merwin has nurtured a quintessential body of poetry that consistently goes beyond the individual self in search of a shared voice that speaks for and from all living things. His achievement as a translator is singular, ranging across two dozen languages and over two millennia, and reinforces his standing as one of the most significant writers of our time.

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ISBN: 9781556594373

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781556594090

Format: Hardcover

About the Translator

W.S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and was United States Poet Laureate in 2010. He graduated from Princeton University in 1948, where he studied with John Berryman and R.P. Blackmur. From 1949 to 1951 he worked as a tutor in France, Mallorca, and Portugal; for several years afterward he made the greater part of his living by translating from French, Spanish, Latin, and Portuguese. His first book of poetry, A Mask for Janus (1952) was selected …

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“Mr. Merwin is an undisputed master.” —New York Times

“This collection of W. S. Merwin’s translations is a deeply worthy book, beautifully produced, and meant to last as a physical object and cultural offering… What a fabulous book of poetry.” —World Literature Today

Selected Translations is amazing in scope, mastery, themes, artistry, imagination: a testimony to a life time of consequential work.” —Three Percent

“Were Merwin not one of America’s most admired poets (his honors include two Pulitzers and a term as U.S. Poet Laureate) he would still be as famous as translators get.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Merwin writes that the act of translation is ‘plainly impossible and nevertheless indispensable.’ We can be grateful that he feels compelled to master the impossible… And that gift alone is priceless.” —Wichita Eagle

“An absorbing experience that resonates with a multitude of cultural viewpoints and traditions, spanning centuries of human history. An astonishing tour de force of profound yet essentially timeless poetry.” —Midwest Book Review

Selected Translations is a landmark production not just because it comes from a former U.S. Poet Laureate, but because it gathers poetry from around the world to present translations of classic works and poets who made their names in their own countries… The result is a presentation that is diverse in scope, varied in town and content, and highly recommended for any collection strong in poetry from notable writers around the world.” —Midwest Book Review