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The Poem Forest

Poet W.S. Merwin and the Palm Tree Forest

He Grew from Scratch




(pub. 9.13.2022) 32 pages

Author: Carrie Fountain

Illustrator: Chris Turnham

Characters: William Stanley


" 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 summer trips to a 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 toxic agricultural practices, and he became determined to restore that land and create one of the most comprehensive palm gardens in the world...leaving as his legacy a wild space for everyone."

Tantalizing taste:

" He felt at home in the wilderness, where trees grew where their seeds had fallen and the noises were wild noises and birds lived the way birds had always lived, in trees and in the sky.

As he grew up, William Stanley also learned that he loved to write poems. For William Stanley, writing poetry was like visiting a wild place - a surprising place always just exactly itself, language growing wherever it pleased.

It couldn't be straightened out."

And something more: Carrie Fountain, in the Author's Note explains that "William and Paula Merwin planted nearly three thousand palm trees [in Maui], living at the center of their forest in a house that uses rainwater and solar energy....

William's long commitment to writing left the world with a great wealth of poems, and his poetry was celebrated with many awards. Over his lifetime, he won two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Book Award. He was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2010 and traveled to Washington, DC, to meet President Obama at the White House...

In 2010, Wlliam and Paula established the Merwin Conservancy, which will protect and grow the palm forest in perpetuity."


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