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The Second Four Books of Poems: The Moving Target / The Lice / The Carrier of Ladders / Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment
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The Second Four Books of Poems: The Moving Target / The Lice / The Carrier of Ladders / Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  271 Ratings  ·  18 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, 1st thus, 320 pages
Published 1992 by Copper Canyon
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Brian
Apr 01, 2009 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
WmkPhil
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These poems are gems, dark & beautiful, surreal & haunting.
Geoff Young
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite collections from one of my favorite poets. I return to this volume often, flipping to random pages and knowing that wherever I land will be a good place.
Padraic
May 29, 2008 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
Brian
Aug 11, 2011 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".
Bethany
Oct 08, 2012 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.
Greg
Jul 04, 2008 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.
Licia
Oct 15, 2010 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!
T.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites, poetry
/ First read January 2006.
Andy
Dec 18, 2007 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.
Ben
Jul 21, 2007 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.
Clarissa Olivarez
Nov 14, 2009 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 rated it it was amazing
His words speak to my soul. Simple language, yes, but they elicit very deep responses.
Robert
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
how have i never read this?
Yogi
Nov 20, 2010 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.
Marguerite
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
W.S. Merwin is the poet's poet, daring to take the language beyond its limits.
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Dec 07, 2008
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193 followers
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
More about W.S. Merwin
“You grieve
Not that heaven does not exist but
That it exists without us”
29 likes
More quotes…