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  • The Pupil
  • Written by W.S. Merwin
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375709647
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The Pupil

Poems

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poetry (6)
poetry (6)
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Hailed by Peter Davison in the Boston Sunday Globe as a poet who “engages the underground stream of our lives at depths that only two or three living poets can match,” W. S. Merwin now gives us The Pupil, a volume of astonishing range and extraordinary beauty: a major literary event.

These are poems of great lyrical intensity, concerned with darkness and light, with the seasons, and with the passing of time across landscapes that are both vast and minutely imagined. They capture the spiritual anguish of our time; the bittersweet joys of vanishing wilderness; anger at our political wrong- doings; the sensuality that memory can engender. Here are remembrances of the poet’s youth, lyrics on the loss of loved ones, echoes
from the surfaces of the natural world. Here, too, is the poet’s sense of a larger mystery:

. . . we know
from the beginning that the darkness
is beyond us there is no explaining
the dark it is only the light
that we keep feeling a need to account for
—from “The Marfa Lights”

Passionate, rigorous, and quietly profound, The Pupil is an essential addition to the canon of contemporary American poetry—a book that finds W. S. Merwin’s singularly resonant voice at the height of its power.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Prophecy

At the end of the year the stars go out
the air stops breathing and the Sibyl sings
first she sings of the darkness she can see
she sings on until she comes to the age
without time and the dark she cannot see

no one hears then as she goes on singing
of all the white days that were brought to us one by one
that turned to colors around us

a light coming from far out in the eye
where it begins before she can see it

burns through the words that no one has believed






The Comet Museum


So the feeling comes afterward
some of it may reach us only
long afterward when the moment
itself is beyond reckoning

beyond time beyond memory
as though it were not moving in
heaven neither burning farther
through any past nor ever to
arrive again in time to be
when it has gone the senses wake

all through the day they wait for it
here are pictures that someone took
of what escaped us at the time
only now can we remember


From the Hardcover edition.
W.S. Merwin

About W.S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin - The Pupil

Photo © Matthew Schwart

W. S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and grew up in Union City, New Jersey, and in Scranton, Pennsylvania. From 1949 to 1951 he worked as a tutor in France, Portugal, and Majorca. He has since lived in many parts of the world, most recently on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

He has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets (of which he is now a Chancellor), the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry; most recently he has received the Governor's Award for Literature of the state of Hawaii, the Tanning Prize for mastery in the art of poetry, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

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