“Poetry is a way of looking at the world for the first time.”
—W.S. Merwin (1927-2019)
It is with profound sadness that we share this news: W.S. Merwin, former United States Poet Laureate, Academy of American Poets Chancellor, environmental activist, literary translator, and two-time Pulitzer prize-winning author, passed away in his sleep on March 15, 2019 at his home in the Pe’ahi watershed near Haiku-Pauwela, HI. He was 91.
William’s final original collection of poems, Garden Time, was published in 2016, and two retrospective collections, a 50th Anniversary Edition of The Lice, and The Essential W.S. Merwin, were published in 2017. His career as a published poet spanned nearly seven decades.
We look back now in gratitude for the countless times W.S. Merwin has enabled us, through poetry, to see the world anew.
“For the Anniversary of My Death”
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
— W.S. Merwin
Author photo by Matthew Valentine