Episode 68

W.S. Merwin, To the New Year


January 18th, 2024

22 mins 48 secs

Season 6

Your Hosts

About this Episode

In the first episode of 2024, we read one of the great poets of the past century, W.S. Merwin, and his address to the new year, considering his attentiveness, his style, and his wondrous mood and mode of contemplation and surprise. Picking up on the "radical hope" we discussed in Dimitrov's "Winter Solstice," we turn to Merwin's sense of what is untouched but still possible as he greets the new year.

In this episode, we quote a few pieces from The New Yorker. Here they are, plus a few other resources.

"The Aesthetic Insight of W.S. Merwin" by Dan Chiasson

"The Final Prophecy of W.S. Merwin" by Dan Chiasson

"The Palm Trees and Poetry of W.S. Merwin" by Casey Cep

"When You Go Away: Remembering W.S. Merwin" by Kevin Young

See also The Poetry Foundation.

The poem originally appeared in Present Company (Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Thanks to the Wylie Agency for granting us permission to read this poem on the episode.