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The Second Four Books of Poems

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  250 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
W.S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He worked as a tutor in France, Portugal, and Majorca, and has translated from French, Spanish, Latin and Portugese. He has published more than a dozen volumes of orignal poetry and several volumes of prose. Mr. Merwin has been awarded the Tanning Prize, the Pulitzer and Bollingen pri ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 1st 1992 by Copper Canyon Press
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Brian
Sep 04, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok
After finishing the first two books (of the "second four"), I'm going to take a break from Merwin. There are times when his language play and imagery speak to me, but mostly I feel left behind. An interesting reference to him in one of Ted Hughes's letters, which I'm currently reading. I'll come back to Merwin, but need a change in my morning poetry reading...

Well, three years later I came back to it, with much the same results. I'm going to return to his later volume, The Shadow of Sirius, to s
...more
Padraic
May 29, 2008 Padraic rated it it was amazing
In 1972, my AP English teacher/funeral parlor director had us focus on a single modern poet apiece for a term project. The straw I drew read W.S. Merwin, about whom I know nothing.

I've been reading Merwin now for 36 years, drawn by his incredible voice, drawn too (let's be honest) by the fact that he passed several unhappy years in my hometown in the 1940s. The Moving Target and The Lice were the two volumes I focused on (i.e. the two volumes held by the Scranton Public Library at the time), and
...more
Bethany
Oct 14, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-class
W.S. Merwin has become one of my favorite poets, although his last book of poems didn't appeal to me the same way the other three books in the anthology did. In his later poems, he forwent all form and punctuation, leading to, to me, poetry that was very hard to follow and relate to. It was hard to get much of an emotional reaction to it.

That being said, I adore most of his poetry. I desperately want to read all of his other books of poetry. Very badly.
Brian
Mar 19, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
What is there to say about Merwin? He is THE poet of our time. I won't begin to talk about this collection because any review I give will come off hopelessly effusive, embarrassingly prostrate, and ultimately incoherent. He may be single-handedly responsible for my own inability to write because any time I try I become pee-shy. I feel him staring over my shoulder like a stern father/priest whose silent criticism is saying "shit of get off the pot".
Licia
Oct 15, 2010 Licia rated it it was amazing
I love the images and all they evoke from within me. This book is wonderful as it covers his poetry from 1963-1973. I was writing a story and fell upon one of his poems and it gave depth and direction to my writing. I'm going to try that again!
Greg
Jul 14, 2008 Greg rated it liked it
Most of this was not my preferred sort of poetry, but there were a dozen or so that I did dig. That's a dozen out of a hundred and fifty or so. The rest are a little out there for me, with lots of references to pain and stones and the rain.
Andy
Dec 18, 2007 Andy rated it it was amazing
Seeing this man read in 1999 changed my perspective on what poetry should sound like coming out of a persons vocal chords.
Clarissa Olivarez
Nov 26, 2009 Clarissa Olivarez rated it really liked it
The first two books are definitely stronger than the latter two. Still, Merwin remains one of my favorite poets.
Elizabeth
Aug 20, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
His words speak to my soul. Simple language, yes, but they elicit very deep responses.
Ben
Jul 21, 2007 Ben rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry
W.S. Merwin is my favorite American poet, and this collection includes his finest work.
Marguerite
Jan 21, 2009 Marguerite rated it it was amazing
W.S. Merwin is the poet's poet, daring to take the language beyond its limits.
Kenneth
Jul 18, 2012 Kenneth rated it it was amazing
Brilliant progression throughout.
T.
Oct 05, 2012 T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, favourites
/ First read January 2006.
Robert
Jan 22, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it
how have i never read this?
Yogi
Nov 20, 2010 Yogi rated it really liked it
Merwin and Oliver are my two favorite poets. The spaciousness and link to nature fill me with awe and reverence.
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Sep 01, 2016
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Aug 26, 2016
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William Stanley Merwin (New York City, September 30, 1927) is an American poet, credited with over 30 books of poetry, translation and prose. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin's unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, Merwin's writing influence derived from his interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in Ha ...more
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“You grieve
Not that heaven does not exist but
That it exists without us”
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