Late Happiness: An interview with W.S. Merwin

One of the great privileges of doing what I do is getting to talk with fascinating people. I've had the opportunity to talk with some of our great living poets and recently I spoke with W.S. Merwin just after his 89th birthday and the publication of his new book, Garden Time. Merwin was the son of a minister who grew up in New Jersey and he went to get to know T.S. Eliot and Robert Graves, he was mentored by W.H. Auden, friends with Sylvia Plath. He also represents something I think is important–and which we didn't even have a chance to talk about–which is the politics of his career. He was opposed to the Vietnam War, was part of the anti-nuclear movement, has been a part of the conservation movement for decades. It's not just talk. He bought 18 acres decades ago that has been ruined, nothing growing on it, and now hundreds of varieties of palm trees grow there on land that's now being preserved. He is also, as he tells it, happy. We spoke about his life and career and what that means.

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