link to email nationalbook@nationalbook.org.
W.S. Merwin Named Next Poet Laureate of the United States

Share |

W.S. Merwin, an influential poet and translator and Winner of the National Book Award for Poetry, has been chosen to succeed Kay Ryan as the Poet Laureate of the United States. The Poet Laureate, who is appointed annually by the Librarian of Congress, serves from October to May and receives a $35,000 stipend.

Merwin was born in 1927 in New York City and was raised in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He received a scholarship to attend Princeton University, where he studied under R.P. Blackmur and John Berryman, and graduated in 1948. While traveling in Europe and studying Romance languages as a graduate student, Merwin began translating poetry and working as a tutor, one of his clients being the son of the poet Robert Graves.

In 1952, W.H. Auden selected Merwin’s first book of poetry, A Mask for Janus, for publication in the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Merwin has since written more than two dozen volumes of poetry with themes ranging from the Vietnam War to deep ecology and a style that has run the gamut from classical to experimental. Merwin was a National Book Award Poetry Finalist five times before he finally won the Award in 2005 for Migration: New and Selected Poems. He also received the Tanning Prize from the Academy of American Poets (1994) and was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1971 and 2009).

For more information on W.S. Merwin’s life and work, visit:

Merwin's 2005 National Book Award acceptance speech
as read by his stepson, John Burnham Schwartz:
www.nationalbook.org/nba2005_poetry_merwin.html

The Library of Congress:
www.loc.gov/poetry/laureate_current.html

The Poetry Foundation:
www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=4676

Photo credit: Peter Waldvogel


 


Merwin's NBA Honored Titles

Poetry Finalists
1953 - A Mask for Janus
1957 - Green With Beasts
1964 - The Moving Target
1968 - The Lice
1971 - The Carrier of Ladders

Poetry Winner
2005 - Migration: New and Selected Poems

Translation Finalists
1974 - Asian Figures
1975 - W. S. Merwin & Clarence Brown - Mandelstam's Selected Poems



 

 

Copyright © 2007 National Book Foundation. Privacy Policy