W. S. Merwin Archive

Sixthth Sense: Minding The Explanatory Gap

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We think of our sensory equipment as separate from that which it apprehends, that our eyes and ears passively convey particulars of the world to our brains. But seer and seen are not separate—looking at a gamma ray burst would detach your retinas.

Small Departures: Aphorisms, Poems, and their Intersections

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I see the aphorism as a flag the poem is waving, a point of contact, or discovery, that exists only in relation to the space around it: poem, aphorism, more poem, then reaching into blank space. When an aphorism stands alone, there’s no more poem around it, just the