Christopher Merrill

NEWS

My new book of poems, Boat, is out from Tupelo Press.


Part 1: Why I Visited Iraq: IWP director Christopher Merrill in conversation at the American Embassy in Baghdad:


Australian poets can visit this site to enroll in a course to receive thoughts and comments on their work from Chris Merrill. The first poem is due on June 3.

"Merrill's deeply felt "necessities"--for honesty in the face of lies, for political justice, for a clear-eyed view of the world we now live in are all the more compelling because of the way they come to us joined to their opposites, to what appears to be disconnected from the space they occupy..." Click here to read the rest of this review for Merrill's newest book.

Christopher Merrill has published a new book of prose poetry, Necessities, now available at White Pine Press.

Mediterranean Poetry features an excerpt set in Greece from Merrill's The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War.

Defunct Magazine has published an essay--set in Aleppo, Syria--culled from an excerpt of Christopher Merrill's latest book, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War.

In an interview with the Asia Society in New York, Christopher Merrill discusses Hualing Engle and the continuing legacy of the International Writing Program.

Connotation Press has published three poems by Christopher Merrill in its monthly feature for November 2012.

Christopher Merrill and Marvin Bell talk with Charity Nebbe on Iowa Public Radio about their new book, Everything At Once. Listen to the broadcast here.

Orion Magazine spotlights Merrill's most recent book, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War in its weekly article on recommended reading and culture. Read this installment of "On the Shelf" here.

Ben Kieffer interviews Christopher Merrill on the theme of terror in his newest book, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War. Listen to the full broadcast from Iowa Public Radio.

Follow Christopher and the IWP's Overseas Tour of Cambodia and Vietnam, with the poets Jane Mead, Eleni Sikelianos, Amy Quan Barry, and Jon Davis, on Twitter (@​CLMerrill), at www.Terrain.org, and on the IWP Website: http:/​/​iwp.uiowa.edu.

Christopher will read with Meena Alexander, Nathalie Handel, and James Ragan at the Rattapallax Poetry and Film Festival. The reading will take place on April 13, 2012, at 7 pm at the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, New School, 55 W. 13th Street, 2nd Floor, New York. The event is co-sponsored by the New School Writing Department and admission is free.

President Barack Obama has appointed Christopher to serve on the National Council on The Humanities. Click to read the full article.

Rattapallax Magazine features Christopher in its third issue. Click here to read Merrill's new prose poems and an interview on prose poetry and translation.


The current issue of Transom Journal, Transom 3: Šalamun in America is dedicated to the work of the Slovenian poet Tomaz Šalamun, alongside works and interviews of those who translate him, including Christopher.

Christopher's new article, "Leaving Afghanistan," published in Granta Magazine, details his latest work in a country growing more politically, socially, and poignantly relevant every day. His "mission," he writes, "was to conduct a seminar, in the capital of Nangarhar Province, for Afghan poets, writers and journalists."

On OnePausePoetry.org Christopher reads selected poems from his own work and that of his late friend, Agha Shahid Ali.

Molossus has added a suite of Christopher's new poems to its World Poetry Portfolio publication series. Read the portfolio here.

In an October airing of Iowa Public Radio's Talk of Iowa, Christopher discussed the personal experiences and political insight that led to the release of his new book, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War. Listen here for the full broadcast.

"What could not be seen in this mirror before 9/​11, what remained in shadow, was the backlash against the forces of dislocation unleashed by globalization..." Read Christopher's alternate take on 9/​11 in Granta, "The Other Twin Towers."

The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War


Composed in the key of terror, The Tree of the Doves offers an engaging account of Christoper Merrill's travels to distant parts of the world. From jungle to desert to sea, in cities and ruins, he explores how history is shaped by ceremonies, expeditions, and wars. He observes the performance of a banned ritual in Malaysia, retraces Saint-John Perse's epic journey from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, and tours the Levant in the wake of the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Encountering a wide range of people along the way--artists and politicians, soldiers and refugees--Merrill is as attentive to their individuality as he is attuned to the historical, social, and cultural situations in which they find themselves.


In three extended essays, he poses fundamental but nonetheless provocative questions--Where do we come from? Where are we going? What shall we do?--which lead him to conclude that the changes we are witnessing now presage the end of one order and the creation of another.


Lively and insightful, empathetic and illuminating, The Tree of Doves is an important book, as contemporary as it is timeless.


“[T]his philosophically acute amalgam of religious, historical and political reflections will surely incite discussion and lively debate.”

--Kirkus Review


"Part travelogue, part meditation, part literary pilgrimage, The Tree of the Doves offers an original vision of nation, of art, and of the sacred. Through intimate accounts of harrowing travels, and in the tradition of Lewis Hyde's explorations of gift exchange, Christopher Merrill takes us on an essential quest for sources--for art and for a full humanity."

--Mona Simpson, author of My Hollywood


"Christoper Merrill is on an ardent lifelong quest and luckily he is taking us along. His three journeys in The Tree of the Doves are deep, wandering investigations where the old world meets the new, where the person becomes politic, and where peace many times has just left the room. His capacious mind is great company and these are essays in the classic style, sojourns outward and inward, powerfully considered ethical wanderings from Malaysia to the Golan Heights. His mind has worlds in it and his thoughts are great company. These embracing lessons in humanity, geography, and poetry make a special book."
--Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies


"A deeply sympathetic and wide-ranging work of the most artful non-fiction, a splendidly hybrid book of journeys that we need right now."

--Edward Hirsch, author of How to Read a Poem


"One of Merrill's great strengths as a writer has always been his ability to braid the past, present, and future."

--Los Angeles Times

"Christopher Merrill is one of the most gifted, audacious, and accomplished poets of an extraordinarily rich generation. His range of sympathy, subject, and tone has always been prodigious."

--W.S. Merwin, US Poet Laureate

Selected Works

Poetry
“Christopher Merrill is one of the most gifted, audacious, and accomplished poets of an extraordinary rich generation. His range of sympathy, subject, and tone has always been prodigious. His grasp of form is sure and in service of clear attention. This collection shows a complex talent developing and extending its original high promise.” —W S Merwin
Poet Christopher Merrill hatched a plan: invite six other poets to join him in four days of writing in Iowa City.
Brilliant Water is written with love, speed and passion. It shines. Makes you fly.”
--Tomaz Salamun
Watch Fire” is a remarkably original, ambitious, and unified volume of poetry.”
--Los Angeles Times Book Review
Non-Fiction

"Christopher Merrill is on an ardent lifelong quest and luckily he is taking us along. His three journeys in The Tree of the Doves are deep, wandering investigations where the old world meets the new, where the person becomes politic, and where peace many times has just left the room..."

--Ron Carlson

"A gem that shows off Merrill-the-poet's gorgeous writing, and Merrill-the-reporter's sharp eye—and introduces a new Merrill, the pilgrim."
--The Spectator
“[T]his book might very well become a modern classic about what once again seems a painful and incomprehensible corner of Europe.”
--Publishers Weekly
Poetry in Translation
The poems of Heeduck Ra are charged with a friction between image and idea, sound and sense. She glimpses an arc, which may light a path from the visible world to the invisible. Her work occupies the ever-shifting border region between what we know and what we do not know, a zone in which to apprehend the world anew.
Buddhism was introduced to Korea via China in the fifth century and similar to China and Japan a long tradition of Zen poetry developed. This collection spans 1,500 years of this tradition with a selection of the key poets and teachers starting with Great Master Wonhyo the founder of Korean Zen Buddhism.