Bill was a prolific, world-renowned, prize-winning poet, a translator of poems from many languages (including the “Purgatorio” of Dante’s Divine Comedy), an essayist, and an author of short fiction. He was also a conservationist. On the island of Maui in Hawaii he and his late wife, Paula, collected and curated palm trees from around the world in a garden now known as the Merwin Conservancy.

Born Sept. 30, 1927, in New York City he grew up near Scranton, Pa. After college study of Romance languages and poetry, he traveled and made his living as a poet and translator in rural France, Spain, elsewhere in Europe, and then again, briefly, in New York and New England. In the mid-1970s he settled on Maui and later built his house in the palm garden. He was twice a Pulitzer Prize winner and received numerous other honors. In 2010-11 he was named poet laureate of the United States. 

He died March 15, 2019, at age 91, in his sleep, in the house he had built for himself in the palm garden. He is survived by two stepsons, Matthew Carlos Schwartz and John Burnham Schwartz.

Undergraduate Class of 1948