W. S. Merwin bigraphy, stories - Translators

W. S. Merwin : biography

September 30, 1927 -

William Stanley Merwin (born September 30, 1927) is an American poet, credited with over fifty 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 Hawaii, he writes prolifically and is dedicated to the restoration of the islands' rainforests.

Merwin has received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in both 1971 and 2009) and the Tanning Prize, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Golden Wreath of the Struga Poetry Evenings. In 2010, the Library of Congress named Merwin the seventeenth United States Poet Laureate to replace the outgoing Kay Ryan.


Each year links to its corresponding "[year] in poetry" or "[year] in literature" article:

  • 1952: Yale Younger Poets Prize for A Mask for Janus at Poetry Foundation, Accessed October 23, 2010
  • 1954: Kenyon Review Fellowship in PoetryBrennan, Elizabeth A. and Elizabeth C. Clarage, article, p 534, Who's Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners Phoenix, Arizona: The Oryx Press (1999), ISBN 1-57356-111-8, retrieved via Google Books on June 8, 2010
  • 1956: Rockefeller Fellowship
  • 1957: National Institute of Arts and Letters grant
  • 1957: Playwrighting Bursary, Arts Council of Great Britain
  • 1961: Rabinowitz Foundation Grant
  • 1962: Bess Hokin Prize, Poetry magazine
  • 1964/1965: Ford Foundation Grant
  • 1966: Chapelbrook Foundation Fellowship
  • 1967: Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, Poetry magazine
  • 1969: PEN Translation Prize for Selected Translations 1948-1968News release, , September 22, 1997, Library of Congress website, retrieved June 8, 2010
  • 1969: Rockefeller Foundation Grant
  • 1971: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Carrier of Ladders (published in 1971)
  • 1973: Academy of American Poets Fellowship
  • 1974: Shelley Memorial Award
  • 1979: Bollingen Prize for Poetry, Yale University Library
  • 1987: Governor's Award for Literature of the state of Hawaii
  • 1990: Maurice English Poetry Award
  • 1993: The Tanning Prize for mastery in the art of poetry
  • 1993: Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Travels
  • 1994: Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award
  • 1998: Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, awarded by The Poetry Foundation
  • 1999: Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress, a jointly-held position with Rita Dove and Louise Glück at Barclay Agency, Accessed October 23, 2010
  • 2005: National Book Award for Poetry for Migration: New and Selected Poems

. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-04-08. (With acceptance speech by Merwin, essay by Patrick Rosal from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog, and other material.)

  • 2004: Golden Wreath Award of the Struga Poetry Evenings Festival in Macedonia
  • 2004: Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2009: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Shadow of Sirius (published in 2008), Pulitzer.org; Accessed October 23, 2010
  • 2010: Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement
  • 2010: United States Poet Laureate
  • 2013: The Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Awardhttp://www.fundacjaherberta.com/en/news/item/285-there%E2%80%99s-a-flame-in-me-that-thinks

Other accolades

Merwin's former home town of Union City, New Jersey honored him in 2006 by renaming a local street near his former home W.S. Merwin Way.

Personal life

Today, Merwin lives a quiet life on a former pineapple plantation built atop a dormant volcano on the northeast coast of Maui.


Merwin's literary papers are held at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The collection, which is open to researchers, consists of some 5,500 archival items and 450 printed books.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine