Top of page

Biography W. S. Merwin

Special Bicentennial Consultant, 1999-2000

U.S. Poet Laureate, 2010-2011

2006 Bobbitt Prize Winner

W. S. Merwin, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2010-2011. Photo credit: Matt Valentine.

W. S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927. He authored more than 30 poetry collections, including A Mask of Janus (1952), winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize; The Carrier of Ladders (1971), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Present Company (2005), winner of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress; and Migration: New and Selected Poems (2005), winner of the National Book Award. Merwin also published more than 20 books of translation, numerous plays, and six books of prose. His other honors include a second Pulitzer Prize (for The Shadow of Sirius in 2009), the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. He received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988-2000, Merwin served as a special Bicentennial Consultant for the Library of Congress from 1999-2000, and as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 2010-2011. He lived in Hawaii until his death in 2019.

Videos with W. S. Merwin

Audio Recordings with W. S. Merwin