This fiftieth anniversary edition revisits a groundbreaking moment in American poetry. The Lice responded, in part, to the atrocities of the Vietnam War and the national unrest of the Civil Rights Movement. Found within these haunting, urgent poems is a citizen artist ensnared in a grand-scale moral crisis. At this key moment in the twentieth century, early in W.S. Merwin’s career, he captured a “peculiar, spiritual agony” (Yale Review) that is both of the time and utterly timeless.