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The Making of A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill

Esteemed American poet James Merrill wrote thousands of letters in his lifetime, to hundreds of recipients. Joel Minor, Curator of the Modern Literature Collection at Washington University Libraries where the James Merrill Papers reside, moderates a discussion with four panelists about how these letters were aggregated and organized for a book of Merrill’s selected letters (Knopf 2021).

The book’s co-editors, Langdon Hammer, the Niel Gray, Jr. Professor of English at Yale University, and Stephen Yenser, Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA, will be joined by Chelsie Malyszek, Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Hampden-Sydney College, and Tim Young, Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, both of whom played major roles in these efforts.

The event includes an audience Q&A and book sales from the Washington University Campus Store. Event co-sponsored by the James Merrill House.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill from the Wash U Campus Store at a 20% discount (regular price $45, sale price $36) please email Mary at Marym@wustl.edu.


Check out these other upcoming virtual events to celebrate the publication of A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill:

  • James Merrill: A Man of Letters, April 10, 4-5pm
    • Merrill biographer Langdon Hammer, the Niel Gray, Jr. Professor of English at Yale, and Merrill’s friend and literary co-executor Stephen Yenser, Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA, along with Knopf poetry editor Deborah Garrison, discuss telling moments and themes in Merrill’s correspondence. Literary scholar, author, and Merrill House Committee member Willard Spiegelman will introduce the series and participants. Hosted by James Merrill House via Facebook Live and YouTube.
  • Reading & Reminiscence, May 7, 4-5pm
    • Stephen Yenser, co-editor of six volumes of James Merrill’s poetry including, most recently, The Book of Ephraim (Knopf, 2018), and Langdon Hammer, author of the biography James Merrill: Life and Art (Knopf, 2015), read selected letters from A Whole World and elucidate what they reveal about Merrill’s character and relationships with his correspondents. Willard Spiegelman moderates. Hosted by James Merrill House via Facebook Live and YouTube.