The Second Four Books of Poems

W.S. Merwin

This edition includes in one volume all of the poems from four books—The Moving Target, The Lice, The Carrier of Ladders, and Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment—which many consider to be the strongest works of United States Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin’s career. This is some of the most startlingly original and influential poetry of the second half of the twentieth century, a poetry that has moved, as Richard Howard has written, “from preterition to presence to prophecy.” This work reinvigorated contemporary poetry when it was originally published, and continues to inspire poets today. The author’s preface places the work in proper historical—and biographical—context.

ISBN: 9781556590542

Format: Paperback

About the Author

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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“Merwin may well be the best poet in America today, and this volume collects four of the most important books of poetry in the past generation.” —Reference and Research Book News

“All large poetry collections should have a copy, especially at this price.” —Library Journal

“This body of work established the author as one of the most profound and influential poets of our time.” —Book People

“… it is gratifying to read poetry that is this ambitious, that cares about vision and the possibilities of poetry, by a poet who is capable of so much change.” —Harvard Review

“[Merwin] is very much a poet, that is, an intelligent observer of the world’s contradictions during the Vietnam War when three of the four books were written. Strikingly original, passionate, and convincing, Merwin fashioned a poetry of the 1960s and early 1970s that was technically daring and a spiritual directive against ‘sleepless despoiling’ of our planet. A hauntingly provocative collection and a reminder that our best poetry can be allowed to go out of print, then brought back into print by a small but exciting publisher.” —Gary Soto, Small Press