Selected poems, 1946-1985

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Knopf, Apr 28, 1992 - Poetry - 339 pages
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Features 121 poems including "The Black Swan," The Country of a Thousand Years of Peace," "An Urban Convalesence," "Nightgown," "Lorelei," "Log," "The Kimono," and "Grass"

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The Black Swan
The Peacock
Hour Glass

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About the author (1992)

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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