Monday, March 16, 2015

March 21: Even though the Whole World is Burning

Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin has won almost every major poetry prize that exists, including two Pulitzers. His legacy is based not only upon his writings, however, but also the singular form of environmental activism and land stewardship he embodies.

Now in his 87th year, Merwin has dedicated over three decades to preserving and regenerating native plants and palms on a 19-acre site on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. Called the Merwin Conservancy, the preserve holds the most comprehensive private collection of palms in the world, with over 800 species. These tangible actions for the environment go hand-in-hand with his poetry, offering important insights for an era marked by environmental degradation, human disconnect with natural processes, and rapid climate change.

Merwin is a vibrant, humorous, and challenging subject and has not been involved in a feature documentary before. Even though the Whole World is Burning is an intimate portrait of a man who is often called a “national treasure.”

The Writer’s Center will hold a free screening of the film on March 21 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion of Merwin’s writing lead by Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly and novelist Howard Norman. This event is presented in partnership with The Environmental Film Festival. 

For more information about the film, visit

For more information about The Environmental Film Festival, visit https://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org

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