American poet W.S. Merwin served as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 2010-2011 at the Library of Congress. This guide provides access to selected print and online resources related to Merwin’s life and work.
Maura Byrne, Intern, Poetry and Literature Center
Anne Holmes, Digital Content Manager, Poetry and Literature Center
Peter Armenti, Reference Specialist, Researcher and Reference Services Division
Created: March 4, 2020
Last Updated: June 5, 2020
On July 1, 2010, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of W.S. Merwin as the 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. On making the appointment, Dr. Billington said:
William Merwin’s poems are often profound and, at the same time, accessible to a vast audience. He leads us upstream from the flow of everyday things in life to half-hidden headwaters of wisdom about life itself. In his poem "Heartland," Merwin seems to suggest that a land of the heart within us might help map the heartland beyond—and that this "map" might be rediscovered in something like a library, where "it survived beyond / what could be known at the time / in its archaic / untaught language / that brings the bees to the rosemary."