Thursday, July 1, 2010

W.S. Merwin to be named U.S. Poet Laureate

From the New York Times:

W. S. Merwin acknowledges that his relatively reclusive life on a former pineapple plantation built atop a dormant volcano in Maui, Hawaii, will be disturbed by the Library of Congress’s announcement on Thursday naming him the country’s poet laureate.

I do like a very quiet life,” Mr. Merwin said by telephone after learning of his appointment. “I can’t keep popping back and forth between here and Washington.” He said he does relish “being part of something much more public and talking too much,” however, and the job of the nation’s premier poet will enable him to do both.

Of course, no matter how many public appearances Mr. Merwin may ultimately make, for most people he speaks most eloquently through his verse.

At 82, Mr. Merwin is an undisputed master, having written more than 30 books of poetry, translation and prose over the course of six decades.

“W. S. Merwin is an inevitable choice for poet laureate,” said Dana Gioia, a poet and a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “He has created a distinctive style. His poetry is lyrical, elliptical and often slightly mysterious.”