No book has more to say about our times than W.S. Merwin’s, The Lice. I was honored to have the opportunity to review the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, published by Copper Canyon Press, for the New York Journal of Books. Here is an excerpt of the review:
In this fiftieth anniversary edition, there exists the opportunity to access Merwin’s writings created in such tumultuous times, yet along with the reading of this volume is the eerie sense that his poems are particularly suited to the current condition of our world. So well-matched, in fact, that someone not familiar with the background of The Lice will see the poems’ statements as relevant to the unfolding of the political and socioeconomic dynamics that daily are unveiled across the media, worldwide. Look at the second stanza of Merwin’s poem, “The Last One”:
Well they cut everything because why not.
Everything was theirs because they thought so.
It fell into its shadows and they took both away.
Some to have some for burning.
Click here to read the review at NYJB.