|Poet Laureate of the Environment
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|Автор:||Lanusic [ 11 июн 2011, 11:08 ]|
|Заголовок сообщения:||Poet Laureate of the Environment|
Washington — On May 4, W.S. Merwin concluded his term as U.S. poet laureate consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress. He gave a brief talk and read poems from his career of more than 60 years.
Merwin.jpg [18.97 КБ]
The poems Merwin read touched again and again on the connectedness of man to the natural world around him and the ability of human imagination to bring man to a more intimate knowledge of that connection. “It’s the thing that makes children — and those of us who remain children — fascinated by and recognize something in every other form of life,” Merwin said of humans’ imaginative power. “There’s a wonder in every moment, and it’s always available to us. Why do I think it’s important to live by it? Because I think if we don’t, we’re belittling ourselves.”
“Time and its passage, memory, the environment and the natural world. All of these are preoccupying concerns in his poetry,” Steven Young, the programs director for the Poetry Foundation, said of Merwin. These themes have remained constant even as the words that express them have changed. In the years between Merwin’s first book, A Mask for Janus (1952), which won the Yale Younger Poets prize, and more recent works such as The Shadow of Sirius, which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for poetry (his second Pulitzer), his work has transformed from formal elegance to something more personal and intuitive, which, said Young, “largely abandons punctuation and finds rhythms in the words themselves. There is nobody writing in English who sounds quite like Merwin.”
As well as being a prolific poet, Merwin has been a respected translator of more than a dozen volumes of works in 23 languages.
Merwin’s devotion to the natural world extends far beyond his poetry. In the 1970s, he moved to Hawaii to study with a teacher of Zen Buddhism. He and his wife, Paula, have lived since the 1980s on a former pineapple plantation that he has nurtured into one of the most comprehensive palm forests in the world. An avid gardener, he has worked to preserve a number of nearly extinct native species. Over the years, he has lent his name and efforts to a number of environmental causes, especially in his adopted state of Hawaii.
“The reason above all I thought I should accept [the position of poet laureate] was that this was a unique opportunity for me to say something that had been part of my life since I was a very small child, since before I could even write,” Merwin said at his final public appearance as poet laureate. “It has been a kind of point on my compass my whole life,” he said. “It has to do with what I believe distinguishes the human species. I think to me it’s always, without any doubt, been the imagination. It’s the source of compassion; it’s the source of the arts.”
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigi ... index.html)
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