W. S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927. He is the author of thirty-one poetry collections, including A Mask of Janus (1952), winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize; The Carrier of Ladders (1971), which won the Pulitzer Prize; and Migration: New and Selected Poems (2005), which won the National Book Award. He has also written a memoir, as well as several plays and books of prose. He has translated over twenty-five books of poetry, including three Selected Translations (in 1969, 1979, and 2013)—the last of which received the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. Merwin’s other honors include a second Pulitzer Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988-2000, Merwin served as a special Bicentennial Consultant for the Library of Congress from 1999-2000, and as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 2010-2011. He currently lives in Hawaii.
Audio Recordings of W.S. Merwin
- W.S. Merwin reading his poems with comment in the Coolidge Auditorium, Nov. 17, 1979
- Poetry in English at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., W. S. Merwin reading his poetry in the Montpelier Room, Library of Congress, Oct. 15, 1997