Bachelor of Arts
W.S. Merwin, Language, Poetry
In this paper, I hope to examine Merwin's ultimately successful quest for such a language and such a myth. Beginning with a brief description of his early work, in which the problem of language becomes a seemingly insuperable barrier to an understanding of the world, I wish to demonstrate his gradual evolution of a poetic voice which is both contemporary and universal. Of course, a study of this length will inevitably be marred by a certain amount of over-generalization and simplification. Merwin's struggle with language has been a long and arduous one, and he has explored many byways on the journey which we will simply not be able to investigate. However, I trust that this summary of the major stages of Merwin's poetic development, with a special concentration on the poems which mark its fruition, will provide a cogent introduction to his response to the unique poetic problems of his time, as well as offer some insights as to the achievement of his work.
Stocks, Anthony G., "A Raid on the Inarticulate: The Problem of Language in the Poetry of W.S. Merwin" (1984). Honors Papers. 633.