Laureate - 2005

William Stanley Marwin



He was born in 1927 in New York, USA. One of the leading poets in America. In a career spanning five decades he has published numerous books of poetry, the most recent being The Folding Cliffs, The River Sound, Flower and Hand, The Pupil, and Selected Poems 1951-2001 (spring 2005). In 1949, aged 22, Merwin came to Europe where in the following seven years he worked as a tutor and eagerly studied and translated the European poetic tradition from French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin. He lived in France, Portugal and Majorca. During his stay in Europe and after his return to the USA he published his first collections of poetry, A Mask for Janus (1952, chosen as the best first book of poetry by W. H. Auden), The Dancing Bears (1954), Green with Beasts (1956), which immediately promoted him as one of the most talented and original young American poets whose poetry includes bold experiments that had not been seen in the contemporary American poetry before. Soon after his first books he published The Drunk in the Furnace (1960), The Moving Target (1963), The Lice (1957), The Carrier of Ladders (1970, which was awarded The Pulitzer Prize for Literature), The Miners Pale Children (1970, short poetic prose), Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment (1973) and The Compass Flower (1977), Houses and Travellers (1977, short poetic prose). For his poetic opus he has also been awarded the Tanning Prize, The Bollingen Prize, The American Poetry Academy Prize (1974), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. At the end of the 1970s Merwin moved to the Hawaii where he accumulated new experiences that found their way in the imagery of his poetry published in the 80s and the 90s, such as Finding the Islands (1982), Opening the Hand (1983), The Rain in the Trees (1987), Travels (1993), and a collection of short prose pieces and essays – Unframed Originals (1982). Besides being a prolific poet W. S. Merwin has also published a number of translations for which he has received various awards, the highest being American P.E.N. Club Translation Award in 1979.