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Hill Talk: W.S. Merwin Named New Poet Laureate

The poet who sparked criticism more than 50 years ago for his disregard of punctuation has been named the Library of Congress’ 17th poet laureate consultant in poetry.

William Stanley Merwin, 82, who also translates poems from Spanish and French to English, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his 60-year writing career.

He’s the author of more than 30 poetry and prose books and will be taking on the yearlong laureate position this fall.

“William Merwin’s poems are often profound and, at the same time, accessible to a vast audience,” Librarian of Congress James Billington said in a press release. “He leads us upstream from the flow of everyday things in life to half-hidden headwaters of wisdom about life itself.”

Past laureates have helped shape literary series and poetry projects during their years of recognition.

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