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Unchopping a Tree

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  13 reviews
There’s no mystery to chopping down a tree. But how do you put back together a tree that’s been felled? Mystical instructions are required, and that’s what W. S. Merwin provides in his prose piece “Unchopping a Tree,” appearing for the first time in a self-contained volume. Written with a poet’s grace, an ecologist’s insights, and a Buddhist’s reverence for life, this eleg ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Trinity University Press
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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Jon Letman
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a very short but profound book. It reminds us that it is far easier to chop down a tree than to unchop one. Something to ponder.
Amy
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What more can you do? What more can you do?

But there is nothing more you can do.

Others are waiting.

Everything is going to have to be put back.
Kathryn Dunlap
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read - but then Merwin's work is terrific.
Rob Charpentier
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is my very first book that I have won in a Good Reads giveaway. However, I can’t really call this a true “first read,” as I was already familiar with this particular work and author. Originally this one piece of writing was from a collection of stories first published in 1970. Oddly, I came across this back in college through a textbook of all things, which anyone that has ever had the experience of reading one of these will most likely agree that even when you find something to your liking ...more
Correen
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it

A philosophical prose-poem that expresses concern for nature. I do not know what Merwin was saying in his poem or what message he hoped we would receive. He writes of an imagined process of putting a tree back together after it has been chopped down. The poem took me to a time when I drove through the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State after loggers had clear cut large sections of the Olympic Forest. I wanted to put it back together and preserve the treasure that was lost. In Merwin's poem,
...more
Christian
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
It was sad to learn that W.S. Merwin’s planned February reading in Bellingham had to be cancelled due to the author’s shaky health, but reading this intimate book feels like spending time in his hallowed presence. The 89 year-old poet, translator and prose stylist instructs how to reassemble a tree that has been felled, in language that is both direct yet deep with multiple meanings. Part prose poem, part ecology lesson and part Zen instruction manual, Unchopping a Tree shares a mystical bluepri ...more
Sarah
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Unsettling with a meaning hard to pin down. Gorgeous book. My favorite thing is the colophon about how "Trinity University Press strives to produce its books using methods and materials in an environmentally sensitive manner." One becomes aware that the book itself is a tree that remained "chopped."
Michele Gouveia Allen
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This short, quick read book is a poetically written story about how one would methodically, delicately and effectively "unchop a tree" - basically put a tree that has been chopped down back together. It is a sweet, short story that leaves you with a smile and wandering thought.
Beverly
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won "Unchopping A Tree" on Goodreads First Reads. This is a short, wonderful book about what you would need to do to put a tree back together after it has been chopped down. It's a very sweet and profound book.

Donna
Apr 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
Received this through first reads. Maybe I am not philosophical enough, but I saw no point to any of it. It just made no sense.
Brian
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, m
Absolutely beautiful
Marianne
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Very inventive and abstract in concept. Enjoyable. I would like to thank the author and publisher for this book i won in the Goodreads First Reads contest.
Roger
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature, philosophy, poetry
Lovely idea, beautifully executed.
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William Stanley Merwin was an American poet, credited with over fifty books of poetry, translation and prose.