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Features and Media

New Review of "Flares"

Flares (2021) is out now.

The Millions lists Chris's new book Flares as a must-read for May 2021, calling it "[a] touching, diverse collection."

"Merrill's life as a writer has been focused on imagining a world where the storyteller's vision matters, and that vision sustains Flares, a book that also demonstrates the narrative merit of the prose poem tradition. The vignettes arise from an itinerant eye." Read the full review here.

National Poetry Month's Poet's Café interview

We're rounding out National Poetry Month with a bang! Featured in the finale of their Poet's Café interview series, Chris talks to A Mighty Blaze about Calvino, Kapuściński, Suki Kim, & Amitav Ghosh, as well as poet-diplomacy, hushed voices, "double vision," and his new book of poetry FLARES.


Watch the interview here.

“Dividing Lines”: On Poetry and Diplomacy

Author Christopher Merrill poses with a group that is participating in a Lines and Spaces Creative Writing Workshop program in Morocco. (Photo courtesy of the International Writing Program)

Chris's essay for DipNote, the U.S. Department of State's official blog, is about the deep connection between poetry and diplomacy—from promoting clarifying discussions integral to diplomacy to strengthening our powers of empathy. "Vital meetings can take place within a single line of verse," Chris asserts.


Read the essay now. 

Poet Nina Murray reviews "Flares" for Compulsive Reader

In her review of FLARES, Nina Murray profoundly describes, "words... in the vision of this book, are particles of poetry whose bombardment of the earth is as natural and penetrating as the rain of muons from outer space." Read her review on Compulsive Reader and then pick up a copy of Flares for yourself.

In Burma, ‘they have come for the poets’

Read this op-ed on The Dallas Morning News written by Chris on his previous experience in Myanmar/Burma and the country's current tumultous situation surrounding the killing and detainment of Burmese poets. 

Ten Years After Arab Spring: Talk with Khaled Mattawa

As part of a writers' series marking the 10th anniversary of the Arab uprisings, Ten Years After The Arab Spring features the voices of award-winning writers reflecting on the past decade through the lens of their writings and personal experiences.


In February, Chris sat and talked to Khaled Mattawa about his most recent book, Fugitive Atlas, a poetry collection about refugee crises, military occupations, and ecological degradation, an acute and probing journey through a world in upheaval. Watch the talk on the Middle East Institute's website


Hosted by The Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Center and the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University. 

Cultural Postmortem 2020

How can artists and scholars help the nation contend with the peril in which we find ourselves—starting with our own campuses? The 2020 US presidential race was one of the most politically and ideologically divisive and contentious races that we've ever seen. And as the events of January 6, 2021 have illustrated, the nation remains divided to the point where political leaders at the highest level are challenging election results without any evidence or basis in reality and a largely white group of insurrectionists tried to overthrow the US government.


Chris, along with Professor Ruth Ellen Kocher (University of Colorado, Boulder) and Professor Malinda Maynor Lowery (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) reflect on the cultural, social, and political fall-out from the 2020 election and imagine paths forward.


Watch the event recording here

"For Marvin Bell," A Tribute To A Friend

Marvin Bell (1937-2020)

Chris celebrates the life and legacy of Marvin Bell who was a prolific poet, professor, collaborator, and friend. Read his memorial essay on Air/Light Magazine


In the span of their long friendship, Chris and Marvin wrote together often. Some of these hours led to the writing of After The Fact: Scripts and Postscripts, a book that is collaboration at its finest. 


Sneak Peek: Flares (May 2021)

Here's something to get you excited for the publication of Chris's upcoming poetry collection, Flares! Six never-before-seen prose poems: "Market Conditions," "Oligarchy," "Excavation," "Faith," "The Wedding," and "Home." Read them here

Emily Dickinson was right: ‘Hope is a strange invention’

J. Scott Applewhite

Chris writes an essay about hope as we sit on the precipice of a near-ending Trump presidency and the start of a new Biden administration. Read it here