The Poem Forest: Poet W.S. Merwin and the Palm Tree Forest He Grew from Scratch, a children’s book written by award-winning poet Carrie Fountain and illustrated by Chris Turnham, will be published by Candlewick Press on March 8, 2022. Above are a few proofs of the book’s final design, courtesy of Carrie’s Instagram feed.
The Merwin Conservancy staff has been honored to support both the writer and the illustrator in their process of bringing this book to fruition, in conversation and by hosting research visits to the garden to collect imagery and to study the house and garden closely.
The book’s synopsis reads: “All his life, William Stanley searched for a wild place of his own. Growing up in the straightened-out city blocks of his childhood and finding some respite in his family’s summer cabin in the woods, William Stanley yearned for space, fragrant soil, tall trees, and the silence that surrounds them. In Hawaii, he learned of acres of land depleted from erosion, logging, and toxic agricultural practices, and he was determined to restore that land and to create one of the most comprehensive palm gardens in the world. With hope and lyricism, award-winning poet Carrie Fountain and artist Chris Turnham tell the enchanting story of famed U.S. Poet Laureate and ecologist W.S. Merwin, who planted nearly three thousand palm trees on his property in Hawaii, leaving as his legacy a wild space for everyone.”
As the publication date comes closer, stay tuned for special programming to celebrate the launch of this book that will bring the story of W.S. Merwin and the Merwin Conservancy to the hearts and minds of young people all over the world.
About Carrie Fountain:
Carrie Fountain’s poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, and The New Yorker, among many others. Her first collection, Burn Lake, was a National Poetry Series winner. Her second collection, Instant Winner, was published by Penguin Random House in 2014. Fountain’s debut novel for young adults, I’m Not Missing, was published in 2018 by Flatiron Books (Macmillan), and her first children’s book, The Poem Forest, about the life and legacy of poet and ecologist W.S. Merwin, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press. Her newest poetry collection, The Life, was published in May 2021 by Penguin. Fountain lives with her family in Austin and gives readings and teaches writing workshops across the country. In 2019, she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Texas. Please visit Blue Flower Arts to learn more about Carrie.
About Chris Turnham:
Chris Turnham is an illustrator and printmaker based in Los Angeles. He creates fine-art limited-edition silkscreen prints at his home studio in Northeast LA depicting a range of Southern California-inspired imagery, from botanical prints to architecture. He’s also worked as an artist in both feature and television animation and has contributed illustrations to publications and children’s books. Learn more and view Chris’ work at www.christurnham.com.