Four leading poets of our time–Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Kevin Young–gather in Hawai‘i on March 18th and 20th to share the impact W.S. Merwin has had on their own lives, their careers as poets, and their work advocating for the power of language, nature, and imagination. Presented by Aqua-Aston Hospitality.
On Wednesday, March 18th at Honolulu Museum of Art and Friday, March 20th at Maui Arts & Cultural Center, The Merwin Conservancy will present two intimate evenings with Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Kevin Young in The Green Room, the Conservancy’s arts and ecology salon series designed to foster a reverence for language, nature, and imagination.
These four renowned poets and tireless poetry advocates convene for an evening dedicated to the life and literary legacy of W.S. Merwin, concluding the Memorial Series of the Merwin Conservancy, a special season of The Green Room inspired by the Conservancy’s late founders, W.S. and Paula Merwin. This Memorial Series has featured such celebrated writers and leaders as Dr. Pualani Kanahele, Pulitzer Prize winner Forrest Gander, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, and current U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
Hirsch, Hirshfield, Nye, and Young poets will read from their own work, and will read and reflect on selections from W.S. Merwin’s prolific career as a poet and translator in this evening held in his memory. Each of these two events, which beginning at 7pm, will feature a main presentation followed by intimate Q&A sessions with the audience and book signings at courtyard receptions featuring a “pop up” book store. Tickets to both events are now on sale.
A 42-year Maui resident and fierce advocate for the environment, W.S. Merwin died on March 15th, 2019 at his home in Ha‘iku.
“We can’t imagine a more powerful and meaningful way way to mark the one-year anniversary of William Merwin’s passing than to gather with some of his favorite people, in his favorite part of the world, to reflect on the impact his life and poetry has had on us all,” remarked Sara Tekula, The Merwin Conservancy’s Director of Programs. “We look forward to remembering him–and looking for new meaning in his work–together with our beloved communities on O‘ahu and on Maui.“
The Memorial Season of The Green Room is presented by a generous sponsorship from Aqua Aston Hospitality. Additional support has been provided by a grant from the Atherton Family Foundation and partners Halekulani and Casa de Flores. The Honolulu event is co-presented with Honolulu Museum of Art. The Maui event is made “zero waste” by Maui Huliau Foundation.
Proceeds ticket sales benefit The Merwin Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
About Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch is a celebrated poet and peerless advocate for poetry. His devotion to poetry is life-long. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, the Prix de Rome, and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award. In 2008, he was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Click here to learn more about Edward Hirsch.
About Jane Hirshfield
Jane Hirshfield, described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and by The New York Times as “passionate and radiant,” addresses the urgent immediacies of our time. Her poems and essays traverse the crises of the biosphere and social justice, abiding in the intersections of facts and imagination, desire and loss, impermanence and beauty—all the dimensions of our existence within what one poem calls “the pure democracy of being.” Click here to learn more about Jane Hirshfield.
About Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent over 40 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity. Click here to learn more about Naomi Shihab Nye.
About Kevin Young
Kevin Young is director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and is widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation. Young is also poetry editor at The New Yorker. Also an essayist, and curator,Young has written eleven books of poetry, including Brown (2018)–a New York Times Notable Book, Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), and Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003), which were both long-listed for the National Book Award (Jelly Roll was a finalist.) Click here to learn more about Kevin Young.