W. S. Merwin

(b. 1927)

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New York-born poet, after graduation from Princeton (1948) and further study of Romance languages began his career with A Mask for Janus (1952), issued in the Yale Series of Younger Poets. This collection has been followed by others, including The Dancing Bears (1954), Green with Beasts (1956), The Drunk in the Furnace (1960), The Moving Target (1963), The Lice (1967), The Carrier of Ladders (1970, Pulitzer Prize), Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment (1973), The Compass Flower (1977), in which his poetry has moved from the relatively formal and traditional early work to poems that are intense and existential, and Opening the Hand (1983). The Miner's Pale Children (1970) and Houses and Travellers (1977) collect prose parables. Darkling Child (1956), Favor Island (1957), and The Gilded West (1961) are plays, the first written with Dido Milroy. He has also made translations, including Poem of the Cid (1959), The Satires of Perseus (1961), and The Song of Roland (1963). Unframed Originals (1982) is a volume of recollections.

Subjects: Literature.

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