W.S. Merwin‘s work has consistently created a space for the political alongside the lyrical. The current poet laureate reported on nonviolent resistance for this magazine several times in the early ’60s, and served as The Nation‘s poetry editor in 1962. On the occassion of Jordan Davis’s conversation with Merwin in this week’s issue, The Nation has assembled a collection of articles and statements from the poet’s many decades of activism and engagement.
Letter From Aldermaston, May 7, 1960 [PDF]
A report from the 1960 march from Aldermaston to London in the name of nuclear disarmament.
The Terrible Meek, June 16, 1962
When four elderly protesters stood before the White House wearing black arm bands to denote their mourning for America’s nuclear bomb testing, the police—and a distorted justice system—swung into action.
Act of Conscience, December 29, 1962 [PDF]
The men who set sail for the United States’ atomic testing grounds on Christmas Island conceived of the trip as a protest against the resumption of nuclear experimentation by any government, even their own.
Hawaii Wakes Up To Pesticides, March 2, 1985
The US Department of Agriculture plans to eradicate three species of fruit fly in Hawaii by spraying suspected carcinogens and mutagens on the islands.
Poets Against the War, March 10, 2003
Statements against the war in Iraq from Alfred Corn, Sam Hamill, W.S. Merwin, Maxine Kumin and Rita Dove.