Poet visits campus, sheds insight on paintings

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin was welcomed to campus for a philosophy reading Monday at the Honors College Commons upstairs in the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library.

The event attracted of crowd of business suits as well as other professional poets.

Merwin began his guest lecture by speaking about Louis Macneice, a fellow poet who has inspired him. He recited Macneice’s poem “Sunlight of the Garden” and described how Macneice’s writings have impacted his work.

“His rhythmic rhymes he has is understood, he rhymes the first syllable with the last syllable,” Merwin said.

The crowd was in awe after Merwin carefully pointed out the basis of how poets go about their work.

As Merwin got more into his lecture, he incited the audience by sharing his personal taste on writing poetry.

He mentioned how poetry is a way of hearing the language instead of actually reading it. Merwin then uses the example of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” as an example.

He explained that Shakespeare grabs his readers’ attention in “Hamlet” within the first four lines of the tragedy. Merwin then emphasized how important it is in poetry to have a subject line.

“If there is no subject, there is no poem,” Merwin said.

The discussion led to Merwin to explaining the difference between poetry and prose. Poetry is much older than prose, Merwin said

Merwin shared one of his life experiences through a painting that depicted a girl pouring milk. He described how there was passion in the women to the audience and how that same passion is also present in poetry.

“Arts are not unique to the human species,” Merwin said.

Towards the end of the lecture, Merwin informed his audience about how language and poetry worked together to established the present formation and rules of English today.

In his philosophy, Merwin feels writing poetry is the best way to express the passion. He said having reassurance and recognition is significant in writing poetry.

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