Film Chronicles Life of Poet Laureate, Discussion with Filmmaker to Follow
April 18, 2017 (Chicago, IL) – In a free screening set for Monday, May 8th at 6:00pm, The Merwin Conservancy, The Canary Project, and the American Writers Museum will co-present Even Though the Whole World is Burning, a, 82-minute feature documentary directed by Stefan Schaefer about the life and work of environmental activist, Poet Laureate, and two-time Pulitzer winner, W.S. Merwin. This special screening is hosted by Columbia College’s Photography Department at the Film Row Cinema located at 1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor, Chicago, IL, in partnership with The Merwin Conservancy, a Maui-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the living legacy of W.S. Merwin, his writing, his home, and his stunning palm forest. The event will include a poetry reading, the screening, and a discussion with the filmmaker.
This special event is being held in conjunction with the opening of an exhibit at the new American Writers Museum entitled Palm: All Awake in the Darkness, a newly commissioned immersive installation by artist duo Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler / Morris) in collaboration with Ian Boyden. The exhibit is inspired by W.S. Merwin’s life and work as a poet and tree planter, and will be available to experience when the American Writers Museum opens to the public on May 16th.
Monday, May 8th, Film Row Cinema at Columbia College, 6:00 pm
Location: 1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor, Chicago, IL (Click for Google Map)
Evening includes poetry reading, film screening, and Q&A with Stefan Schaefer, the filmmaker
FREE Tickets can be reserved at: https://merwindocchicago.eventbrite.com
W.S. Merwin is one of the most influential and honored poets in modern American history. The author of more than 50 books of poetry, translation and prose, W. S. Merwin is the 17th Poet Laureate of the United States, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and recipient of the National Book Award, among numerous other awards, decorations and honors.
Merwin’s 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 90th year, Merwin has dedicated nearly four decades to preserving and regenerating native plants and palms and has created and cultivated an 18-acre botanical garden, one of the largest and most important collections of palms in the entire world. Boasting over 2,740 individual palm trees, representing over 480 taxonomic species and more than 125 unique genera, and featuring nearly 900 different horticultural varieties, the Merwin palms and the land on which they live are truly Hawaii’s version of Walden Pond.
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.” It was directed by Stefan Schaefer and produced by Williams Cole, and was filmed in Maui, France, and New York City.
“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to share this beautiful film and the story of W.S. Merwin with the Chicago community,” said Jason Denhart, Executive Director at The Merwin Conservancy. “Anyone who has a healthy reverence for nature, language, or imagination will fall in love with his journey, and those who are Merwin fans will find this to be an important film documenting his life’s work, both as a poet and deep ecologist.”
For more information, visit www.merwinconservancy.org
About The Merwin Conservancy
The Merwin Conservancy’s is a Maui-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a mission to preserve the living legacy of W. S. Merwin, his home and palm forest, for retreat and study for botanists and writers, for environmental advocacy and community education. For more information on the organization, its palm forest, and programs, visit http://www.merwinconservancy.org
About Even Though The Whole World Is Burning:
“W.S. Merwin is an extraordinary poet. That much I knew from several decades of reading. Even Though the Whole World is Burning showed me the man himself and the extraordinary place he and his wife Paula have created to preserve part of our natural heritage. A wonderful film about life, language, and the natural world we all share.” – Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour
Film website: www.eventhoughthewholeworldisburning.com