Poetry Day: W. S. Merwin
Thursday, October 6th, 6:00 PM
Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street
Free admission on a first-come, first-served basis
In a career spanning five decades, poet, translator, and environmental activist W. S. Merwin has become one of the most honored and widely read poets in America. From his first collection, A Mask for Janus, which W. H. Auden chose for the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1952, to The Shadow of Sirius, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, Merwin has written with sheer grace and limpid power about the natural world, time and memory. His earliest poems are informed by his deep knowledge of classical and medieval literature, while his later work shows the influence of his profound pacifism and far-reaching conservationism. Through his formal innovations, and his abandonment of punctuation, he has developed a signature voice, unlike that of any other poet in English. Appointed U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010, Merwin lives, writes, and gardens in Hawaii, on the island of Maui. He has spent the last 30 years planting 19 acres with over 800 endangered species of palm, creating a sustainable forest. The property has recently been protected as the Merwin Conservancy.
Co-sponsored with the Chicago Public Library
A group exhibition featuring work by Poetry magazine cover artists depicting the mythical creatures Pegasus and mermaids from poetry immemorial. Artists include Lise Haller Baggesen, Ana Benaroya, Lilli Carré, Alexander Cohen, Stephen Eichhorn, Carson Ellis, Clay Hickson, Tony Fitzpatrick, Krista Franklin, Julia Goodman, Jenny Kendler, Kate McQuillen, Jessie Mott, Julie Murphy, Diana Sudyka, and Shoshanna Weinberger.