Instant ‘Summer’ On the Cheap

merwin-bargainWho is the best poet still open for business? Billy Collins? Mary Oliver? It’s my opinion that any such barstool debate — what, brewski drinkers don’t argue about verse? — would have to include the name W.S. Merwin, a magician with words.

A few years back Merwin wrote a lyrical nonfiction prose book called Summer Doorways. Set in 1948 when he was twenty-one and already married, it’s the story of Merwin’s days as a student in seminary school and at Princeton and the years he spent as a tutor fo children of privilege living abroad. Summer Doorways also tells of the poet’s youth in the few years before he won the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1952. And it describes life in Europe that was already passing away at the close of the Second World War. Kirkus reviews says “Summer Doorways” is “masterful.”

Oh, one other thing I must say before you consider whether to pick up a copy at the old neighborhood bookstore. The price of this hardcover just may entice you to write an ode of your own: $5.98.

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