Poets.org has posted a wonderful essay by Matthew Zapruder, on Merwin, being an MFA student, and the development of his poetic philosophy:
without clarity, it is not possible to have true mystery. By clarity, I mean a sense in the reader that what is being said on the surface of the poem is not a scrim or a veil deliberately hiding some other hidden, inaccessible certainty. Clarity for me in poetry is a kind of generosity, a willingness to be together with the reader in the same place of uncertainty, striving for understanding.
When I began writing poetry again last year, for the first time since the ’90s, I found Zapruder’s embrace of narrative inspiring and reassuring:
narrative grounding situates the poem firmly, which then allows the poet to step out at will and make associations and observations and digressions that are often quite strange but always believable.
He wrote us a poem for the first issue of Route 9, concerning some of the times referred to in the essay.