William Stanley (W.S.) Merwin had a career that spanned seven decades. He was one of the most honored poets in America, receiving distinctions as the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010 and the coveted Pulitzer Prize (twice), the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lilly Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the Tanning Prize.
A poet, translator, gardener, and environmental activist, he settled in Maui in 1977 and restored land that was once depleted and devastated by years of erosion to one of the world’s most comprehensive palm gardens.
Today, his legacy is preserved through The Merwin Conservancy on the island of Maui, a small arts and ecology organization that sits on 19 acres of lush and rare forest lands. It is a place of reflection for retreat, contemplation and study for creative thought leaders and visionaries from Hawaii and the world, and seeks to not only perpetuate a forest of palms, but also a way of being. Through the Green Room environmental and literacy series, local and global communities are engaged through storytelling projects and innovative collaborations.
For more information on the conservancy, visit MerwinConservancy.org or learn more from our emmy award winning episode “In Prose and Palms” on HalekulaniLiving.tv. And when you are on property, visit our small reflection of Merwin’s legacy in front of our Main Building.