The Shadow of Sirius (Paperback)
Okay, so if you ride BART or the Metro, bus, carpool or ride in a car, and if you ever are waiting for five, ten, fifteen minutes, somewhere for someone sometime - then do you know what is the most expansive, freeing, delightful and productive use of your time in those situations? Yep, reading poetry. I'm not kidding - it is concise, direct, bears repetition, expands time, puts you in the zone of patience, waiting, and joy. It's dreamy, heartening, exciting, quickening, and gives you, your, own, sense, of, time. My recommendation for your next moment, your next wait, your next chance to extend your sense of time instead of contract it is: The Shadow of Sirius by Pulitzer Prize-winning W.S. Merwin. Just pick it up, carry it with you, find the moment where minutes are yours to kill, and read it. Read each poem three times, with breaks in between to feel your imagination breathe and stretch and grow. Then, read, another, one. -- John Evans— From March 2010
December 2009 Indie Next List
“The breath is what I keep coming back to in the poetry of Merwin; his pacing is impeccable. If you didn't get out of the city this summer, this is a perfect trip to take into the landscape. If you still can, take this with you; it will deepen your valleys and soften your light.”
— Rebecca Armstrong, McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Featured on NPR's Fresh Air and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.
Honored as one of the Best Books of the Year from Publishers Weekly.
A collection of luminous, often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory. --Pulitzer Prize Committee
In his personal anonymity, his strict individuated manner, his defense of the earth, and his heartache at time's passing, Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page; he has made for himself that most difficult of creations, an accomplished style. --Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books
"Merwin is one of the great poets of our age."--Los Angeles Times Book Review
The Shadow of Sirius is] the very best of all Merwin: I have been reading William since 1952, and always with joy. --Harold Bloom
Merwin's] best book in a decade--and one of the best outright... The poems... feel fresh and awake with a simplicity that can only be called wisdom. --Publishers Weekly, starred review
Merwin's gentle wisdom and attentiveness to the world are alive as ever. These deeply reflective meditations move through light and darkness, old love and turning seasons to probe the core of human existence. --Orion
The Shadow of Sirius] shows the earthly possibilities of simple completeness in a writer's mature work. More than an achievement in poetry, this is an achievement in writing. --Harvard Review
The nuanced mysteries of light, darkness, presence, and memory are central themes in W.S. Merwin's new book of poems. "I have only what I remember," Merwin admits, and his memories are focused and profound--the distinct qualities of autumn light, a conversation with a boyhood teacher, well-cultivated loves, and "our long evenings and astonishment." In "Photographer," Merwin presents the scene where armloads of antique glass negatives are saved from a dumpcart by "someone who understood." In "Empty Lot," Merwin evokes a child lying in bed at night, listening to the muffled dynamite blasts of coal mining near his home, and we can't help but ask: How shall we mine our lives?
somewhere the Perseids are falling
toward us already at a speed that would
burn us alive if we could believe it
but in the stillness after the rain ends
nothing is to be heard but the drops falling
W.S. Merwin, author of over fifty books, is America's foremost poet. His last two books were honored with major literary awards: Migration won the National Book Award, and Present Company received the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress.
About the Author
W.S. Merwin is the author of over fifty books of poetry, prose, and translations. He has earned every major literary prize, most recently the National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems. He lives in Hawaii where he raised endangered palm trees.