W.S. Merwin


William Stanley (W.S.) Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and raised in New Jersey and Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of a Presbyterian minister. His numerous collections of poetry, his translations, and his books of prose have won praise over seven decades. Though his early poetry received great attention and admiration, Merwin would continue to alter and innovate his craft with each new book, and at each stage he served as a powerful influence for poets of his generation and younger poets.  For the entirety of his writing career, he explored a sense of wonder and celebrated the power of language, while serving as a staunch anti-war activist and advocate for the environment. He won nearly every award available to an American poet, and he was named U.S. poet laureate twice. A practicing Buddhist as well as a proponent of deep ecology, Merwin lived since the late 1970s on an old pineapple plantation in Hawaii which he has painstakingly restored to its original rainforest state. Poet Edward Hirsch wrote that Merwin “is one of the greatest poets of our age. He is a rare spiritual presence in American life and letters (the Thoreau of our era).” Merwin died in March 2019 at the age of 91. Source

Lunar Landscape

Nobody can tell you

anything new about

moonlight you have seen it

for yourself as many

times as necessary


nobody else ever saw

it as it appeared to you

you have heard all about it

but in the words of others

so that you fell asleep


it was photographed but

somewhere else and without

what was happening inside

its light and whenever it

was rhymed it disappeared


you cannot depend on

it use it for much send

it anywhere sell it

keep it for yourself bring

it back when it has left


and while it is lighting

the ocean like a name while

it is awake in the leaves

you do not need to look at it

to know it is not there






Literary Movements:


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exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”