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Asked why he translated this book, instead of the Inferno or Paradiso, Merwin responded, "The Purgatorio is more like life."
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About the Author

W. S. Merwin has authored dozens of books of poetry, prose, and works in translation. A beloved voice in American literature with steadfast commitments to environmentalist and anti-imperialist causes, Merwin is a former U.S. Poet Laureate and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Carrier of Ladders (1971) and The Shadow of Sirius (2009). His most recent volume is Garden Time (2016). Merwin has lived in Hawaii since 1976, where he and his wife restored the barren land of a former pineapple plantation into a haven for endangered palm species. In 2010, The Merwin Conservancy was founded to preserve Merwin's literary legacy, home, and palm forest and to serve as a retreat and study for the arts, environmental advocacy, and community education. Merwin has been recognized and awarded numerous prizes throughout his career, including fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Guggenheim Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts.

Reviews

"Merwin has attained a transcendent and transformative elevation of beaming perception, exquisite balance, and clarifying beauty."--Booklist "But Merwin shows us that the discipline of attention, 'a time of waiting / hoping to hear', is enough. There are few great poets alive at any one time, and WS Merwin is one of them. Read him while he is still contemporary." --Fiona Sampson, The Guardian "In his personal anonymity, his strict individuated manner, his defense of the earth, and his heartache at time's passing, Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page." --Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Book

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