Works

After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts (2016)
A conversation in prose poems with Marvin Bell.

Boat (2013)


My new book of poems, Boat, is available now from Tupelo Press, Powell's Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Necessities (2013)
Necessities is a meditation on the deepest promptings of the spirit that could be discovered through language. Influenced by his reading of Kafka, Calvino, Zbigniew Herbert, Czeslaw Milosz, Charles Simic, James Tate, and other explorers of the marvelous, these poems are parables, which, with any luck, deepen with each reading.

"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.

The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War (2011)
Composed in the key of terror, The Tree of the Doves explores how history is shaped by ceremonies, expeditions, and wars. Merrill 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.

Seven Poets, Four Days, One Book (2009)
In the fall of 2008, Christopher hatched a plan: invite six other poets to join him in four days of writing in Iowa City. In each session they would write for 30 minutes, creating a poem of 15 lines, and then read them aloud to the group, jotting down words and lines and images with which to start new poems, and so it went until they had created 7 Poets 4 Days 1 Book.

Scale and Stairs (2009)
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.

Because of The Rain: An Anthology of Korean Zen Poetry (2006)
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.

Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain (2005)
If you were a poet returning from war-ravaged Yugoslavia with a marriage on the rocks and credit-card companies after you, where would you go to get away from it all? Christopher Merrill’s choice, several times between 1998 and the millennium’s eve, was Mount Athos.
--Matthew Spencer, The Spectator, April 24, 2004

Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars (2001)
A chronicle of the writer’s ten war-time journeys to the Balkans. At once a travelogue, a book of war reportage, and a biography of the imagination under siege, this book provides a portrait of the poetry, the politics, and the people of the Balkans.

Brilliant Water (2001)
“Christopher Merrill has always been a poet of the outdoors. ... For Merrill, the pastoral landscape is a scaffold upon which he can construct a more contemporary poetic experience, one that mimics the actions of the mind without lapsing into the personal. These poems put T.S. Eliot’s objective correlative to work; each poetic journey symbolizes, from a distance, a personal or collective frame of mind.”
--David Roderick, Verse

Watch Fire (1995)
“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. His grasp of form is sure and in the service of a clear attention. This collection shows a complex talent developing and extending its original high promise.”
--W.S. Merwin