In celebration of its 50th Anniversary of being in print, W.S. Merwin’s groundbreaking 1967 poetry book The Lice has been re-introduced to the world by his publishers at Copper Canyon Press today with a beautiful new edition.
When it was released in 1967, The Yale Review said that the book “captured the peculiar, spiritual agony of our time”.
In anticipation of its re-release through Copper Canyon Press, Bruce Arlen Wasserman in the New York Journal of Books reviewed it 50 years later, saying:
“The reasons for a 50th anniversary edition of The Lice are numerous enough to compel its printing. // Any level of engagement with the poems of The Lice will open a pathway into vistas we all ought to see.”
The 5oth Anniversary edition features a new forward written by Matthew Zapruder, and also contains prints taken from W.S. Merwin’s notebooks that date back to the time he was writing these poems.
As Merwin discussed in an interview, “The Lice was written at a time when I really felt there was no point in writing. I got to the point where I thought the future was so bleak that there was no point in writing anything at all. And so the poems kind of pushed their way upon me. I would be out growing vegetables and walking around the countryside when all of a sudden I’d find myself writing a poem, and I’d write it.”
The Lice is now available for purchase at bookstores around the country.