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The Moon Before Morning by WS Merwin review beautiful

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Merwin brings themes of memory, the natural world and love of place rapturously to life

William Merwin is curiously under-read in Britain. Not so in his native US, where he was until recently poet laureate, and where his distinguished roster of awards includes two Pulitzer prizes. Now 86, he still lives in the house he built in the rainforest of Hawaii, and which is the setting for much of his later work.

Merwin's signature refusal to use punctuation, and the way his push-me-pull-you lines capture the connectedness of time, space and the natural world, are unique in Anglo-American verse. So his new collection would be an event even if it consisted of nothing but fragments. But The Moon Before Morning is a book of drive, finesse and astonishing beauty. Far from fragmentary, it is also substantial, its more than 120 pages divided into four sections. Among its themes are remembering and forgetting, the natural world and love of place.

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