Garden Time

by W. S. Merwin

Hardcover, 2016

Call number

811 MER




Copper Canyon Press (2016), 96 pages


"There are few great poets alive at any one time, and W.S. Merwin is one of them. Read him." --The Guardian "There are few great poets alive at any one time, and W.S. Merwin is one of them. Read him." --The Guardian "Merwin has attained a transcendent and transformative elevation of beaming perception, exquisite balance, and clarifying beauty." --Booklist, starred review ofThe Moon before Morning "Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page." --Helen Vendler,The New York Review of Books W.S. Merwin composedGarden Time during the difficult process of losing his eyesight. When he could no longer see well enough to write, he dictated his new poems to his wife, Paula. In this gorgeous, mindful, and life-affirming book, our greatest poet channels energy from animated sounds and memories to remind us that "the only hope is to be the daylight." From "A Breath of Day": Last night I slept on the floor of the sea in an unsounded part of the ocean in the morning it was a long way up through the dark streets of a silent country with no language in its empty houses until I had almost reached the surface of a morning that I had never seen then a breeze came to it and I began to remember the voices of young leaves . . . W.S. Merwin served as Poet Laureate of the United States and has received every major literary accolade, including two Pulitzer prizes, most recently forThe Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon), and the National Book Award forMigration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon). He lives in Hawaii.… (more)

Library's review

Merwin writes with calm observance of memory and mortality. (Brian)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Bostonseanachie
This slim volume of Merwin's work contains certain gems. I was struck by "The Sound of It," a poem lamenting (or maybe just remarking) on the fact that the stopping of a dog's bark or a day's rain is not itself heard, but rather only the silence or what replaces it, or what was always there that the bark or rain caused us not to attend. Also by the ultimate poem, "The Present," in which two leaving the garden nevertheless simultaneously reach for a senseless gift neither can keep, but laugh when their hands strike each other while so reaching.

That said, the poems in the second half of the book devolved into a murkiness, in which Merwin largely lost the power of the specific and tangible image and instead noodles in a kind of haze thanking his lucky stars for his late-in-life love or remarking with wonder on his old age. Neither the love nor his old age are presented vividly, so the effect is largely maudlin.
… (more)
LibraryThing member dasam
Give this collection a few pages before you discover the understated eloquence of age and loss and love in the face of it all. While this is not his finest collection, Merwin offers us his truth with language that is accessible to those who do not regularly read poetry. Yet many of the poems have depth of thought and feeling and a koan kind of craft that belies what seems prosaic at first reading. I highly recommend it whether you are in the last third of life or just beginning your too short journey. Poetry like Merwin's helps us all to pay close attention both to the questions and to the only answers in the now.… (more)
LibraryThing member Overgaard
I love him




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