A different person: a memoir

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A great American poet--winner of every major prize America can offer its poets, including the Pulitzer--opens his life to us in a memoir that puts wit, sensibility, and elegance of mind to the service of unflinching autobiographical truth. Photos.

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A different person: a memoir

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As much a storyteller as a poet, Merrill, the Pulitzer Prize-winning heir to the Merrill-Lynch fortune, delights with this graceful account of a 30-month stay in Europe in the 1950s that was to become ... Read full review


Decision to go abroad My dearest friend
Tony puts one over on the French Visit
With my father in Italy Dr Simeons

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About the author (1993)

James Merrill was born in New York and attended Amherst College, where he later spent a year teaching English. An extensive traveler, he has lived in Italy and now divides his time between Stonington, Connecticut, and Greece. In "First Poems" (1951), "Merrill's images derive from both symbolist and metaphysical sources - substances such as glass, crystal, and flint are linked with apparatuses of one kind or another (compasses, barometers, spectrums, and hourglasses) and he speaks of the machinery of light and the machinery of decay" (Louise Bogan, New Yorker). "Nights and Days" (1966) won Merrill a 1967 National Book Award for "his scrupulous and uncompromising cultivation of the poetic art, evidenced in his refusal to settle for an easy and profitable stance." Merrill's play "The Immortal Husband" has been performed off-Broadway. He has also written two novels, "The Seraglio" (1957), about an aging businessman, and "The (Diblos) Notebook" (1965), which was a runner-up for the 1966 National Book Award in fiction. His epic poem "The Changing Light at Sandover" (1982) is one of the most impressive long poems written since the era of the modernist masters. It secures Merrill's place as one of the preeminent poets of his generation and certainly one of the most ambitiously inventive writers of the postwar decades.

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