James Merrill

(3 March 1926 – 6 February 1995 / New York City, New York)

James Merrill
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James Ingram Merrill was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1977) for Divine Comedies. His poetry falls into two distinct bodies of work: the polished and formalist (if deeply emotional) lyric poetry of his early career, and the epic narrative of occult communication with spirits and angels, titled The Changing Light at Sandover, which dominated his later career. Although most of his published work was poetry, he also wrote essays, fiction, and plays.

Life

James Ingram Merrill was born in New York City to Hellen Ingram Merrill and Charles E. Merrill, founding partner of the Merrill Lynch investment firm. He had two older half siblings ... more »

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  • Rookie - 57 Points Linda Hepner (5/18/2015 5:56:00 PM)

    I'm wandering round the internet and find James Merrill. What a wonderful day! Welcome to my life!

  • Freshman - 876 Points Lamont Palmer (12/1/2008 12:06:00 AM)

    It doesn't get much better in terms of midcentury poets than James Merrill. A virtuoso with words. -LP

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Best Poem of James Merrill

An Urban Convalescence

Out for a walk, after a week in bed,
I find them tearing up part of my block
And, chilled through, dazed and lonely, join the dozen
In meek attitudes, watching a huge crane
Fumble luxuriously in the filth of years.
Her jaws dribble rubble. An old man
Laughs and curses in her brain,
Bringing to mind the close of The White Goddess.

As usual in New York, everything is torn down
Before you have had time to care for it.
Head bowed, at the shrine of noise, let me try to recall
What building stood here. Was there a building at all?
I have lived on ...

Read the full of An Urban Convalescence

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