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WS Merwin obituary

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Prolific American poet whose work engaged with both the bleak and the beautiful

WS Merwin, who has died aged 91, was one of the most honoured and prolific poets in the US. He published some 25 books of poetry, two of which won the Pulitzer prize, and 18 volumes of translated poetry, as well as stories, plays and essays.

His poetry evolved from a strict formalism to an outwardly simpler free verse that famously eschewed punctuation, but whose ambiguities never argued against the precise sense of meaning of its words, creating a verse both simple and difficult, whose elegant rhythms were almost elegiac.

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