James Merrill

Life and Art

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Author: Langdon Hammer

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 0385353081

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 944

View: 7053

Langdon Hammer has given us the first biography of the poet James Merrill (1926–95), whose life is surely one of the most fascinating in American literature. Merrill was born to high privilege and high expectations as the son of Charles Merrill, the charismatic cofounder of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, and Hellen Ingram, a muse, ally, and antagonist throughout her son’s life. Wounded by his parents’ bitter divorce, he was the child of a broken home, looking for repair in poetry and love. This is the story of a young man escaping, yet also reenacting, the energies and obsessions of those powerful parents. It is the story of a gay man inventing his identity against the grain of American society during the eras of the closet, gay liberation, and AIDS. Above all, it is the story of a brilliantly gifted, fiercely dedicated poet working every day to turn his life into art. After college at Amherst and a period of adventure in Europe, Merrill returned to the New York art world of the 1950s (he was friendly with W. H. Auden, Maya Deren, Truman Capote, Larry Rivers, Elizabeth Bishop, and other midcentury luminaries) and began publishing poems, plays, and novels. In 1953, he fell in love with an aspiring writer, David Jackson. They explored “boys and bars” as they made their life together in Connecticut and later in Greece and Key West. At the same time, improbably, they carried on a forty-year conversation with spirits of the Other World by means of a Ouija board. The board became a source of poetic inspiration for Merrill, culminating in his prizewinning, uncanny, one-of-a-kind work The Changing Light at Sandover. In his virtuosic poetry and in the candid letters and diaries that enrich every page of this deliciously readable life, Merrill created a prismatic art of multiple perspectives and comic self-knowledge, expressing hope for a world threatened by nuclear war and environmental catastrophe. Holding this life and art together in a complex, evolving whole, Hammer illuminates Merrill's “chronicles of love & loss” and the poignant personal journey they record.

James Merrill

Life and Art

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Author: Langdon Hammer

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 0375413332

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 913

View: 6329

A portrait of the 20th-century American poet details his high-privilege upbringing, the significant impact of his parents' divorce, his sexual orientation, his relationships with fellow artist and his decades-long romance with David Jackson.

The Changing Light at Sandover

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Author: James Merrill

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 0525520538

Category: Poetry

Page: 640

View: 6670

James Merrill’s audacious and dazzling epic poem, The Changing Light at Sandover, remains as startling today as when it first emerged in separate volumes over a period of several years. Individual parts won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and the entire poem, when it was collected into one volume in 1982, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. It is now an American classic, here in a definitive new hardcover edition that includes Voices from Sandover, Merrill’s recasting of the poem for the stage. The book carries us to the scene of Merrill’s Ouija board sessions with his partner, David Jackson—the candlelit Stonington dining room with its flame-colored walls and the famous Willowware cup they used as a pointer in their occult travels. In a shimmering interplay of verse forms, Merrill set down their extended conversations with their familiar and guide, Ephraim (a first-century Greek Jew), W. H. Auden, W. B. Yeats, Plato, a brilliant peacock named Mirabell, and other old friends who had passed to the other side. JM (whom the spirits call “scribe”) and DJ (“hand”) are also introduced to the lonely eminence God B (“God Biology”), his sister Mother Nature, and a host of angels and lesser residents of the empyrean who are variously involved in the ways of this world. The laughter, the missteps, and the schoolroom frustrations of the earthly pair’s gradual enlightenment make this otherworldly journey, finally, and utterly human one. A unique exploration of the writer’s role in a postatomic, postreligious age, Sandover has been compared to the work of Yeats, Proust, Milton, and Blake. Merrill’s tale of the joys and tragedies of man’s powers, and his message about the importance of our endangered efforts to make a good life on earth, will stand as one of the most profound experiences available to readers of poetry.

A Different Person

A Memoir

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Author: James Ingram Merrill

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: N.A

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 271

View: 3125

James Merrill--winner of the Pulitzer and National Book Award--is one of America's most celebrated poets. This acclaimed memoir--nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award--traces Merrill's painful yet often hilarious life as a young man. "Stands with Merrill's finest work".-- Los Angeles Times Book Review.

The Consuming Myth

The Work of James Merrill

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Author: Stephen Yenser

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674166158

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 367

View: 2531

"The Consuming Myth" is a discerning account of his work that will well serve amateur and initiate alike. Yenser ranges over all of Merrill's writing to date, from a precocious book printed when its author was fifteen to his most recent publication, a verse play. He writes about both of the poet's novels and pays particular attention to the epic poem "The Changing Light at Santkver" His close readings shed light on Merrill's boldly and subtly original techniques, his kinship with Mallarme, Proust, Yeats, Stevens, and others, and the network of connections among his diverse undertakings."

James Merrill

Selected Poems

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Author: James Ingram Merrill

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 037571166X

Category: Poetry

Page: 298

View: 9184

A compilation of poetry spans four decades and includes such classic works as "The Broken Home," "Lost in Translation," "Summer People," "Self-Portrait in a Tyvek," and "Windbreaker."

Last Looks, Last Books

Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill

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Author: Helen Vendler

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400834327

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 168

View: 3798

In Last Looks, Last Books, the eminent critic Helen Vendler examines the ways in which five great modern American poets, writing their final books, try to find a style that does justice to life and death alike. With traditional religious consolations no longer available to them, these poets must invent new ways to express the crisis of death, as well as the paradoxical coexistence of a declining body and an undiminished consciousness. In The Rock, Wallace Stevens writes simultaneous narratives of winter and spring; in Ariel, Sylvia Plath sustains melodrama in cool formality; and in Day by Day, Robert Lowell subtracts from plenitude. In Geography III, Elizabeth Bishop is both caught and freed, while James Merrill, in A Scattering of Salts, creates a series of self-portraits as he dies, representing himself by such things as a Christmas tree, human tissue on a laboratory slide, and the evening/morning star. The solution for one poet will not serve for another; each must invent a bridge from an old style to a new one. Casting a last look at life as they contemplate death, these modern writers enrich the resources of lyric poetry.

Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation

A Biography

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Author: Merrill D. Peterson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199840526

Category: History

Page: 1104

View: 8463

The definitive life of Jefferson in one volume, this biography relates Jefferson's private life and thought to his prominent public position and reveals the rich complexity of his development. As Peterson explores the dominant themes guiding Jefferson's career--democracy, nationality, and enlightenment--and Jefferson's powerful role in shaping America, he simultaneously tells the story of nation coming into being.

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

On Objects and Intimacy

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Author: Mark Doty

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 0807066109

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 80

View: 7119

Mark Doty's prose has been hailed as "tempered and tough, sorrowing and serene" (The New York Times Book Review) and "achingly beautiful" (The Boston Globe). In Still Life with Oysters and Lemon he offers a stunning exploration of our attachment to ordinary things-how we invest objects with human store, and why. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Book of Ephraim

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Author: James Merrill

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 0525520244

Category: Poetry

Page: 216

View: 7080

For the first time in a stand-alone edition, the acclaimed poet's classic poem about his communication with Ephraim, a guiding spirit in the Other World, is here introduced and annotated by poet and Merrill scholar Stephen Yenser. "The Book of Ephraim," which first appeared as the final poem in James Merrill's Pulitzer-winning volume Divine Comedies (1976), tells the story of how he and his partner David Jackson (JM and DJ as they came to be known) embarked on their experiments with the Ouija board and how they conversed after a fashion with great writers and thinkers of the past, especially in regard to the state of the increasingly imperiled planet Earth. One of the most ambitious long poems in in English in the twentieth century, originally conceived as complete in itself, it was to become the first part of Merrill's epic The Changing Light at Sandover (1982), the multiple prize-winning volume still in print. Merrill's "supreme tribute to the web of the world and the convergence of means and meanings everywhere within it" is introduced and annotated by one of his literary executors, Stephen Yenser, in a volume that will gratify veteran readers and entice new ones.

Paint and Canvas

A Life of T. C. Steele

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Author: Rachel Berenson Perry,Theodore Clement Steele

Publisher: Indiana Historical Society

ISBN: 0871952955

Category: Art

Page: 153

View: 4909

Paint and Canvas: A Life of TC Steele traces the path of Steele's career as an artist from his early studies in Gemany to his determination to paint what he knew best, the Indiana landscape. Steele, along with fellow artists William Forsyth, Otto Stark, Richard Gruelle and L. Ottis Adams, became a member of the renowned Hoosier Group and became a leader in the development of Midwestern art. In addition to creating artwork, Steele wrote and gave lectures, served on numerous art juries to select paintings and prizes for national and international exhibitions and helped organize pioneering art associations and societies.

Loss Within Loss

Artists in the Age of AIDS

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Author: Edmund White,Estate Project for Artists with AIDS.,Alliance for the Arts (New York, N.Y.)

Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press

ISBN: 9780299170745

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 305

View: 8048

When an artist dies we face two great losses: the person and the work he did not live to do. Loss within Loss is a moving collaboration by some of America's most eloquent writers, who supply wry, raging, sorrowful, and buoyant accounts of artist friends and lovers struck down by AIDS. These essayists include Maya Angelou, Alan Gurganus, Brad Gooch, John Berendt, Craig Lucas, Robert Rosenblum, and eighteen others. Many of the subjects of the essays were already prominent--James Merrill, Paul Monette, David Wojnarowicz--but many others died young, before they were able to fulfil the promise of their lives and art. Loss within Loss spans all of the arts and includes portraits of choreographers, painters, poets, actors, playwrights, sculptors, editors, composers, and architects. This landmark book is published in association with the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, a national organization that preserves art works created by artists living with HIV or lost to AIDS. Loss within Loss stands as a powerful reminder of the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic on the arts community and as the first real survey of that devastation. Though these accounts are often intensely sad, Loss within Loss is an invigorating, sometimes even exuberant, testimony to the sheer joy of being an artist . . . and being alive.

Selected poems, 1946-1985

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Author: James Ingram Merrill

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

ISBN: N.A

Category: Poetry

Page: 339

View: 9078

Features 121 poems including "The Black Swan," The Country of a Thousand Years of Peace," "An Urban Convalesence," "Nightgown," "Lorelei," "Log," "The Kimono," and "Grass"

Castings

Monuments and Monumentality in Poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney

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Author: Guy Rotella

Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press

ISBN: 0826591825

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 240

View: 8778

Whether looming over public squares or dotting old battlefields, monuments certify a culture's present by securing its past and pledging its future. They embody exemplary persons or events and the shared ideals they stood for, prompting an obligation to keep those ideals standing now and forever. But monuments also exaggerate the staying power of civilizations and of art. In the second half of the twentieth century, postmodern critics often decried monuments not only for their pretensions and stiffness but also for their supposed role in perpetuating oppressive cultural conventions. Even so, many artists and thinkers of the same period tried to reimagine monuments in ways that were humbler and more provisional but still culturally confirming. In "Castings," Guy Rotella examines the work of five important poets who have engaged in that effort: Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney. Considering their wider careers as well as particular poems--including Bishop's "The Monument," Lowell's "For the Union Dead," Merrill's "Bronze," Walcott's "The Sea Is History," and Heaney's "In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge"--Rotella argues that these writers are less concerned with defending or condemning monuments than with pursuing ancient and current debates about the political, aesthetic, and broadly cultural issues that monuments condense. Among these concerns are the competing claims of life and art, persistence and change, meaning and meaninglessness, the self and society, and the governing and the governed. Original and provocative, Rotella's readings will make us ponder how the human impulse to build to last, to reify our culturally derived and ideologically driven faiths, might coexist with those other creeds of our place and time: relativism, multiculuralism, and diversity.

Savage Art

A Biography of Jim Thompson

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Author: Robert Polito

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781852425715

Category: Authors, American

Page: 543

View: 9937

'The art of Jim Thompson was always a tightrope act, those first-person sadist heroes settling a lot of the writer's psychic debts. Drunk, he would babble on in an agony of guilt about his sheriff father's demise in an old people's home, inventing a death by swallowing mattress stuffing. Not a head you'd want, though you might envy the prose. A great biography' Brian Case, Time Out

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

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Author: Ocean Vuong

Publisher: Copper Canyon Press

ISBN: 1619321564

Category: Poetry

Page: 70

View: 1378

Winner of the 2016 Whiting Award One of Publishers Weekly's "Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2016" One of Lit Hub's "10 must-read poetry collections for April" “Reading Vuong is like watching a fish move: he manages the varied currents of English with muscled intuition. His poems are by turns graceful and wonderstruck. His lines are both long and short, his pose narrative and lyric, his diction formal and insouciant. From the outside, Vuong has fashioned a poetry of inclusion.”—The New Yorker "Night Sky with Exit Wounds establishes Vuong as a fierce new talent to be reckoned with...This book is a masterpiece that captures, with elegance, the raw sorrows and joys of human existence."—Buzzfeed's "Most Exciting New Books of 2016" "This original, sprightly wordsmith of tumbling pulsing phrases pushes poetry to a new level...A stunning introduction to a young poet who writes with both assurance and vulnerability. Visceral, tender and lyrical, fleet and agile, these poems unflinchingly face the legacies of violence and cultural displacement but they also assume a position of wonder before the world.”—2016 Whiting Award citation "Night Sky with Exit Wounds is the kind of book that soon becomes worn with love. You will want to crease every page to come back to it, to underline every other line because each word resonates with power."—LitHub "Vuong’s powerful voice explores passion, violence, history, identity—all with a tremendous humanity."—Slate “In his impressive debut collection, Vuong, a 2014 Ruth Lilly fellow, writes beauty into—and culls from—individual, familial, and historical traumas. Vuong exists as both observer and observed throughout the book as he explores deeply personal themes such as poverty, depression, queer sexuality, domestic abuse, and the various forms of violence inflicted on his family during the Vietnam War. Poems float and strike in equal measure as the poet strives to transform pain into clarity. Managing this balance becomes the crux of the collection, as when he writes, ‘Your father is only your father/ until one of you forgets. Like how the spine/ won’t remember its wings/ no matter how many times our knees/ kiss the pavement.’”—Publishers Weekly "What a treasure [Ocean Vuong] is to us. What a perfume he's crushed and rendered of his heart and soul. What a gift this book is."—Li-Young Lee Torso of Air Suppose you do change your life. & the body is more than a portion of night—sealed with bruises. Suppose you woke & found your shadow replaced by a black wolf. The boy, beautiful & gone. So you take the knife to the wall instead. You carve & carve until a coin of light appears & you get to look in, at last, on happiness. The eye staring back from the other side— waiting. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong attended Brooklyn College. He is the author of two chapbooks as well as a full-length collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. A 2014 Ruth Lilly Fellow and winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, Ocean Vuong lives in New York City, New York.

Electric Light

Poems

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Author: Seamus Heaney

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 1466855525

Category: Poetry

Page: 144

View: 7061

A powerful new collection by the bestselling translator of Beowulf. In the finland of perch, the fenland of alder, on air That is water, on carpets of Bann stream, on hold In the everything flows and steady go of the world. --from "Perch" Seamus Heaney's new collection travels widely in time and space, visiting the sites of the classical world and revisiting the poet's childhood: rural electrification and the light of ancient evenings are reconciled within the orbit of a single lifetime. This is a book about origins (not least, the origins of words) and oracles: the places where things start from, the ground of understanding -- whether in Arcadia or Anahorish, the sanctuary at Epidaurus or the Bann valley in County Derry. Electric Light ranges from short takes to conversation poems. The pre-Socratic wisdom that everything flows is held in tension with the elegizing of friends and fellow poets. These gifts of recollection renew the poet's calling to assign things their proper names; once again Heaney can be heard extending his word hoard and roll call in this, his eleventh collection.

Significant Objects

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Author: Joshua Glenn,Rob Walker

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

ISBN: 1606995251

Category: Fiction

Page: 256

View: 7872

100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: A Literary and Economic Experiment Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales. That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way. But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination? The founders of the Significant Objects project, that’s who. This book collects 100 of the finest tales from this unprecedented creative experiment; you’ll never look at a thrift-store curiosity the same way again. FEATURING ORIGINAL STORIES BY: Chris Adrian • Rob Agredo • Kurt Andersen • Rachel Axler • Rob Baedeker • Nicholson Baker • Rosecrans Baldwin • Matthew Battles • Charles Baxter • Kate Bernheimer • Susanna Breslin • Kevin Brockmeier • Matt Brown • Blake Butler • Meg Cabot • Tim Carvell • Patrick Cates • Dan Chaon • Susanna Daniel • Adam Davies • Kathryn Davis • Matthew De Abaitua • Stacey • D'Erasmo • Helen DeWitt • Doug Dorst • Mark Doty • Ben Ehrenreich • Mark Frauenfelder • Amy Fusselman • William Gibson • Myla Goldberg • Ben Greenman • Jason Grote • Jim Hanas • Jennifer Michael Hecht • Sheila Heti • Christine Hill • Dara Horn • Shelley Jackson • Heidi Julavits • Ben Katchor • Matt Klam • Wayne Koestenbaum • Josh Kramer • Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer • Neil LaBute • Victor LaValle • J. Robert Lennon • Jonathan Lethem • Todd Levin • Laura Lippman • Mimi Lipson • Robert Lopez • Joe Lyons • Sarah Manguso • Merrill Markoe • Tom McCarthy • Miranda Mellis • Lydia Millet • Maud Newton • Annie Nocenti • Stephen O’Connor • Stewart O’Nan • Jenny Offill • Gary Panter • Ed Park • James Parker • Benjamin Percy • Mark Jude Poirier • Padgett Powell • Bob Powers • Todd Pruzan • Dan Reines • Nathaniel Rich • Peter Rock • Lucinda Rosenfeld • Greg Rowland • Luc Sante • R.K. Scher • Toni Schlesinger • Matthew Sharpe • Jim Shepard • David Shields • Marisa Silver • Curtis Sittenfeld • Bruce Sterling • Scarlett Thomas • Jeff Turrentine • Deb Olin Unferth • Tom Vanderbilt • Matthew J. Wells • Joe Wenderoth • Margaret Wertheim • Colleen Werthmann • Colson Whitehead • Carl Wilson • Cintra Wilson • Sari Wilson • Douglas Wolk • John Wray

Merrill

Poems

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Author: James Merrill

Publisher: Everyman's Library

ISBN: 1101907851

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 6513

A beautiful hardcover selection of poems by one of the giants of contemporary American poetry. EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY POCKET POETS. James Merrill once called his body of work "chronicles of love and loss," and in twenty books written over four decades he used the details of his own life--comic and haunting, exotic and domestic--to shape a portrait that in turn mirrored the image of our world and our moment. Like Wallace Stevens and W. H. Auden before him, Merrill sought to quicken the pulse of a poem in surprising and compelling ways--ways, indeed, that changed how we came to see our own lives. Years ago, the critic Helen Vendler wrote of Merrill, "He has become one of our indispensable poets." This volume brings together an entirely new pocket-sized selection of the best of Merrill's work. His poetry dazzles at every turn, and this balanced and compact selection will be an ideal introduction to the work for both students and general readers, and an instant favorite among his familiars.