Evening at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center features Poet Edward Hirsch, Merwin’s Long-Time Editor Michael Wiegers, and other Special Guests
August 21 (Haiku, HI) – On Friday, September 29th, in celebration of his 90th birthday, The Merwin Conservancy presents an evening in tribute to U.S. Poet Laureate, translator, environmentalist, and 40-year Maui resident W.S. Merwin, whose peerless literary gifts have inspired millions and have consistently broken new ground in the world of poetry.
The evening will feature a conversation with celebrated poet Edward Hirsch of the Guggenheim Foundation and Merwin’s longtime editor, Michael Wiegers of Copper Canyon Press and other special guests. This installment of The Green Room, an environmental and literary salon series on Maui that is hosted by the Conservancy, begins at 7:00pm in the McCoy Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, with doors opening at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25 per person, with a $10 student rate available with valid student I.D..
The State of Hawaii will also be present, issuing a Gubernatorial Proclamation proclaiming September 30, 2017, as “W.S. Merwin Day” in Hawaii and presenting Merwin with a special Gubernatorial Commendation for his life-long achievements.
“W.S. Merwin’s meaningful, positive impact on the world, both locally here on Maui and globally through his poetry, is undeniable. We are excited to honor and pay tribute to him, on the occasion of his 90th birthday,” said The Merwin Conservancy’s Executive Director Jason Denhart. “To make it truly memorable, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome renowned poet Edward Hirsch, and Michael Wiegers, whose support of Mr. Merwin’s poetic works and of his vision for the Conservancy has been unwavering. This will be a truly unforgettable evening, and we look forward to seeing the Maui community at the event.”
The presentation will be followed by a courtyard reception with dessert, champagne, a book fair, and live musical entertainment. This event is generously presented by FIM Group. Ticket proceeds benefit the nonprofit Merwin Conservancy.
Sara Tekula, Communications and Outreach Director
The Merwin Conservancy
About W.S. Merwin (BIO)
W.S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and was the U.S. Poet Laureate in 1999 and 2010. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1971 and 2009. He graduated from Princeton University in 1948, where he studied with John Berryman and R.P. Blackmur. His first book of poetry, A Mask for Janus (1952) was selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Since then, Merwin has written dozens of books of poetry and prose, and translated dozens more from French, Spanish, Latin, Japanese and Portuguese. His work embodies a bold commitment to experimentation and transformation rooted in the moral necessity of bearing witness, and is influenced by his profoundly environmentalist, pacifist, and anti–imperialist beliefs. He has won many awards, as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller and the Guggenheim Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. Merwin’s most recent books include Garden Time (2016), The Moon Before Morning (2014), The Shadow of Sirius (2008), The Book of Fables (2007), and Present Company (2005). He married Paula, the love of his life and co-founder of The Merwin Conservancy, in 1983.
About Edward Hirsch (BIO)
Edward Hirsch was born in Chicago in 1950—his accent makes it impossible for him to hide his origins—and educated at Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in Folklore.
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 a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Edward Hirsch’s first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers (1981), received the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University and the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His second collection, Wild Gratitude (1986), won the National Book Critics Award.
Since then, he has published six additional books of poems: The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994), On Love (1998), Lay Back the Darkness (2003), Special Orders (2008), and The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of poems.
Hirsch is also the author of five prose books, including A Poet’s Glossary (2014), the result of decades of passionate study,Poet’s Choice (2006), which consists of his popular columns from the Washington Post Book World, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller. He is the editor of Theodore Roethke’s Selected Poems (2005) and co-editor of The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology (2008). He also edits the series “The Writer’s World” (Trinity University Press).
Edward Hirsch taught for six years in the English Department at Wayne State University and seventeen years in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. He is now president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
About The Merwin Conservancy
The Merwin Conservancy’s mission is to preserve the living legacy of W. S. Merwin, his home and palm forest, for retreat and study for writers, for environmental advocacy and community education. For more information on the organization, visit http://www.merwinconservancy.org
About The Green Room
The Green Room is a literary salon series steeped in the values of The Merwin Conservancy—which include a reverence for nature, language, art and imagination. Launched in 2013, The Green Room presents writers, poets, artists, botanists, and environmentalists –from both Hawai’i and off-island – to create enriching, meaningful salons that spark conversation, community engagement and artistic expression. Past events have included presentations by William Finnegan, Hope Jahren, Pualania Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, Bill Porter (aka Red Pine), Michael Ondaatje, Gary Paul Nabhan, Jane Hirshfield, David Grubin, Susan Casey, Barry Lopez, Naomi Shihab Nye, Terry Tempest Williams, and Dr. Abraham Verghese. For more information, visit: www.merwinconservancy.org/the-green-room.