Hailed by Peter Davison in the "Boston Sunday Globe" as a poet who "engages the underground stream of our lives at depths that only two or three living poets can match," W. S. Merwin now gives us The Pupil, a volume of astonishing range and extraordinary beauty: a major literary event. These are poems of great lyrical intensity, concerned with ...
Hailed by Peter Davison in the "Boston Sunday Globe" as a poet who "engages the underground stream of our lives at depths that only two or three living poets can match," W. S. Merwin now gives us The Pupil, a volume of astonishing range and extraordinary beauty: a major literary event. These are poems of great lyrical intensity, concerned with darkness and light, with the seasons, and with the passing of time across landscapes that are both vast and minutely imagined. They capture the spiritual anguish of our time; the bittersweet joys of vanishing wilderness; anger at our political wrong- doings; the sensuality that memory can engender. Here are remembrances of the poet's youth, lyrics on the loss of loved ones, echoes from the surfaces of the natural world. Here, too, is the poet's sense of a larger mystery: . . . we know from the beginning that the darkness is beyond us there is no explaining the dark it is only the light that we keep feeling a need to account for --from "The Marfa Lights" Passionate, rigorous, and quietly profound, The Pupil is an essential addition to the canon of contemporary American poetry--a book that finds W. S. Merwin's singularly resonant voice at the height of its power.
Fair. Good copy for reading, may have heavy page wear with writing textual notes highlighting or be an heavily used ex library copy with library markings, stickers or stamps. Dust jacket or accessories may not be included.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-09-03 Fresh from several much-praised book-length works, the impressively prolific Merwin (The Folding Cliffs, etc.) enters his sixth decade as a publishing poet with a decidedly mixed group of new short poems. Recent collections have portrayed the sights and sounds of Hawaii, Merwin's adopted home state, along with memories of his Atlantic coast boyhood. Though both are represented here, they take a backseat to astronomy and the night sky, which occasion many reflections on mortality, transience and the void, delivered in Merwin's familiar, sinuous, punctuation-free sentences. One poem remembers "the year of the well of darkness/ overflowing with no/ moon and no stars"; others portray "the darkness thinking the light" or "the white moments that had traveled so long." Merwin's overreliance on a few key words threatens monotony for the astronomy-centered first half of the book. The poems shine when Merwin finds subjects more specific and concrete than time, space, darkness and light. "Aliens" describes the beauty in a flock of linnets; "Before the Flood" portrays the poet's father as Noah. "Plan for the Death of Ted Hughes" becomes a genuinely original, understated elegy. And the poems near the back of the book are the best Merwin has done for many years among them a meditation on liberal guilt, a strong dawn piece ("the teeth of roofs and the thin trees") and a bitter poem about Matthew Shepard: "This is what the west was won for/ and this is the way it was won." (Oct.) Forecast: Merwin has won about every award there is (Pulitzer, Bollingen, and so on). He has appeared frequently this year in the New Yorker, and his role as ecological advocate has recently raised his profile. All these factors may help boost his new work; the sheer number of recent books, however, risks creating a Merwin glut. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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