W. S. Merwin American Literature Analysis
The poetry of W. S. Merwin is diverse in its form and content and has been well received since his first publication, A Mask for Janus. As stated above, Merwin’s early poetry is traditional and formal. These poems are in regular formal measures and employ conventional rhetorical devices; the tone is distant and sophisticated; the voice is cultivated. Even more popular patterns, such as the ballad form in “Ballad of John Cable and Three Gentlemen,” are formalized: This is a literary ballad, alluding to medieval folk-song tradition.
Merwin’s second volume, The Dancing Bears, is also predominantly formal. Its touchstone poem, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” recasts the traditional folk...
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