Migration: New & Selected Poems

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Copper Canyon Press, 2005 - Poetry - 545 pages
16 Reviews

The definitive volume from “one of America's greatest living poets.”—The Washington Post Book World

A powerful case can be made for declaring W.S. Merwin the most influential American poet of the last half-century. Migration: New & Selected Poems is that case.

As an undergraduate at Princeton, Merwin was advised by John Berryman to “get down on your knees and pray to the muse every day.” Over the last 50 years, Merwin's muse led him beyond the traditional verse of his early years to revolutionary open forms that engaged a vast array of influences and possibilities. As Adrienne Rich wrote of W.S. Merwin's work, “I would be shamelessly jealous of this poetry, if I didn't take so much from it into my own life.”

From Once in Spring

A sentence continues after thirty years
it wakes in the silence of the same room
the words that come to it after the long comma
existed all that time wandering in space
as points of light travel unseen through ages
of which they alone are the measure and arrive
at last to tell of something that came to pass
before they ever began or meant anything

Migration is the distillation of a profound body of work. Drawing the best poems from his acclaimed 17 books, and including a selection of new poems, Migration is the definitive Merwin volume. It embodies his evolving poetic style, commitment to bearing witness, and artistic and political nerve. There is nothing quite like this in American poetry.

Poet and translator W.S. Merwin has received nearly every major literary accolade, including the Pulitzer Prize, Tanning Prize and Bollingen Prize. He has long been committed to artistic, political and environmental causes in both word and deed; when presented with the Pulitzer Prize, he donated the prize money to artists and the draft resistance. He currently lives in Hawaii, where he cultivates endangered palm trees.

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Review: Migration: New and Selected Poems

User Review  - Katherine Collins - Goodreads

How can you not be intrigued by a poet who is famous for a work called The Lice? With lines like “My friends without shields walk on the target” and “I remember the rain with its bundle of roads”, I am inclined to read on and on. Read full review

Review: Migration: New and Selected Poems

User Review  - Len Edgerly - Goodreads

WS Merwin is my favorite poet, and this is one of my favorite books of his. Read full review


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About the author (2005)

W.S. Merwin is one of America's leading poets. His prizes include the 2005 National Book Award for his collected poems, Migration, the Pulitzer Prize, the Stevens Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and Lannan Foundation. He is the author of dozens of books of poetry and translations. He lives in Hawaii, where he cultivates endangered palm trees.

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