CollectedPoemsWSMerwinA Handsome Collection of Poems by an American Master

4stars

Edited by J.D. McClatchy
The Library of America, $75.00, 1500 pages

W.S. Merwin is only the second living poet to have his work published with the Library of America series and this handsome two volume collection, The Collected Poems of WS Merwin edited by J.D. McClatchy, is a treasure for any reader who wants the complete works of this American master in their library for years to come. Hardback, with acid-free pages, this collection encompasses this poet laureate’s prolific career spanning over five decades of work and thirteen books.

“Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look up at the sky
and say thank you”

Divided into volumes according to early and late work, these two books cover the breadth of Merwin’s work with its gorgeously unadorned language. You can track the evolution of Merwin’s poems as he grapples with themes of legends, and myth with beautifully crafted elegies and haunting accounts of history and the natural world. Also included in both volumes are previously uncollected poems chosen by editor J.D. McClatchy with consultation by the artist making this collection the perfect addition to any W.S. Merwin enthusiast.

Reviewed by Kristin Leigh

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