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Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1971. Merwin has since won a National Book Award for his selected poems and the 2009 Pulitzer for the Shadow of Sirius.
Half Roundel I make no prayer For the spoilt season, The weed of Eden. I make no prayer. Save us the green In the weed of time. Now is November; In night uneasy Nothing I say. I make no prayer. Save us from the water That washes us away. What do I ponder? All smiled disguise, Lights in cold places, I make no prayer. Save us from air That wears us loosely. The leaf of summer To cold has come In little time. I make no prayer. From earth deliver And the dark therein. Now is no whisper Through all the living. I speak to nothing. I make no prayer. Save us from fire Consuming up and down. Evening with Lee Shore and Cliffs Sea-shimmer, faint haze, and far out a bird Dipping for flies or fish.
New genius work from W. S. Merwin, considered "one of America's greatest living poets." -Washington Post
The nuanced mysteries of light, darkness, temporality, and eternity interweave throughout Merwin's newest collection of poems. "I have only what I remember," he admits, and his memories are focused and profound: well-cultivated loves, the distinct qualities of autumnal light, memories of Pennsylvania miners, a conversation with a boyhood teacher, and "our long evenings and astonishment." From the universe's chiaroscuro shadows, Merwin once again calls upon the language of surprise to illuminate existence. He is writing at the peak of his powers.
A splendid new translation of the classic Arthurian tale of enchantment, adventure, and romance, presented alongside the original Middle English text. It is the height of Christmas and New Year's revelry when an enormous knight with brilliant green clothes and skin descends upon King Arthur's court. He presents a sinister challenge: he will endure a blow of the axe to his neck without offering any resistance, but whoever gives the blow must promise to take the same in exactly a year and a day's time. The young Sir Gawain quickly rises to the challenge, and the poem tells of the adventures he finds--an almost irresistible seduction, shockingly brutal hunts, and terrifyingly powerful villains--as he endeavors to fulfill his promise. Capturing the pace, impact, and richly alliterative language of the original text, W. S. Merwin has imparted a new immediacy to a spellbinding narrative, written centuries ago by a poet whose name is now unknown, lost to time. Of the Green Knight, Merwin notes in his foreword: "We seem to recognize him--his splendor, the awe that surrounds him, his menace and his grace--without being able to place him ... We will never know who the Green Knight is except in our own response to him."
A contemporary prose rendering of the great medieval French epic, The Song of Roland is as canonical and significant as the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. It extols the chivalric ideals in the France of Charlemagne through the exploits of Charlemagne's nephew, the warrior Roland, who fights bravely to his death in a legendary battle. Against the bloody backdrop of the struggle between Christianity and Islam, The Song of Roland remains a vivid portrayal of medieval life, knightly adventure, and feudal politics. The first great literary works of a culture are its epic chronicles, those that create simple hero-figures about whom the imagination of a nation can crystallize, observed V. S. Pritchett. The Song of Roland is animated by the crusading spirit and fortified by national and religious propaganda. This edition features W. S. Merwin's glowing, lyrical translation.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1948, twenty-one, already married and graduated from Princeton, W. S. Merwin made his first trip abroad. "Travel from America to Europe became a commonplace, an ordinary commodity, some time ago, but when I first went such departure was still surrounded with an atmosphere of adventure and improvisation, and my youth and inexperience and my all but complete lack of money heightened that vertiginous sensation. " Thus begins his most recent memoir, Summer Doorways. Through his days as a student in seminary school and at Princeton, through the years next spent as a tutor for the children of privilege living abroad, Summer Doorways tells the story of the poet's youth in the few years before he won the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1952. And it describes life in Europe that was already passing away at the close of the Second World War. He writes, "I would have the luck to discover, to glimpse, to touch for a moment some ancient, measureless way of living, of being in the world, some fabric long taken for granted, never finished yet complete, at once fixed and evanescent as a work of art, an entire age just before it was gone, like a summer. "
Parallel Spanish texts and English translations from the famous Chilean poet.
"The poems are set above and below the cave country of south central Kentucky, where McCombs lives. The book is framed by two sonnet sequences, the first about a slave guide and explorer at Mammoth Cave in the mid-1800s and the second about McCombs's experiences as a guide and park ranger there in the 1990s. Other poems deal with Mammoth Cave's four thousand year human history and the thrills of crawling into tight, rarely visited passageways to see what lies beyond. Often the poems search for oblique angles into personal experience, and the caves and the landscape they create form a personal geology.