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After graduating from Princeton, the poet W.S. Merwin moved to Majorca to tutor Robert Graves’ son, met and married a woman 15 years his senior. He followed her to London, where he befriended Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and became a prominent poetic voice during the Vietnam War. Then he moved to Hawaii, where he became interested in Buddhism and ecology. His memory, therefore, is ripe territory to mine, which he does in The Shadow of Sirius. Through this collection, which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2009, Merwin explores such themes as loss and the passage of time. Though his poetry is unpunctuated, it remains accessibly coherent: Expect no Faulknerian streams-of-consciousness.
W.S. MERWIN READS AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY’S ELIZABETHAN THEATRE, 201 E. CAPITOL ST. SE. $12. (202) 544-4600.