The Conservancy is immersed in programs that will secure the legacy of W.S. Merwin, his precious palms, and the singular sanctuary that he and Paula have created. Currently, we focus on bringing the values of the Conservancy–reverence for art, nature & imagination–out into the community, while preserving, protecting and conserving The Merwin Palm Collection and the special property in Haiku, Hawaii where they live.
- The palm cataloging by Dr. John Dransfield and the National Tropical Botanical Gardens is now complete. The experts have identified, tagged, catalogued and mapped the entire Merwin Palm Collection – over 2,740 individual palm trees; over 400 taxonomic species; more than 125 unique genera; and 800 different horticultural varieties – a living treasure house of palm DNA. The Merwin Palm Collection is one of the top three largest known palm collections to exist on earth! One of the end results of this extensive project will be a future database of palms accessible to scientists worldwide;
- The documentary film on the life and work of W. S. Merwin, Even Though the Whole World is Burning, premiered at the 2014 Maui Film Festival in June and was screened in July at the 20th Annual Sun Valley Writers Conference during a special tribute to W.S. Merwin. The film is now on the festival circuit and should be available for public distribution in 2015.
Our literary + ecology + arts series on Maui, “The Green Room”, launched in 2013 and delivers regular, dynamic literary salons to our diverse audiences… bringing W. S. Merwin’s and The Merwin Conservancy’s values and mission out into the community. Our first event presented author Alexander Maksik reading from his new book A Marker to Measure Drift. The Green Room no. 2 featured an engaging presentation by NY Times bestseller and renowned physician, Dr. Abraham Verghese. Award-winning poet, author, educator and peace crusader Naomi Shihab Nye, joined us for The Green Room no. 3 in a heartfelt evening of touching poetry readings and authentic “talk story.” The Green Room will occur regularly with new, inspiring events now in the works for 2015. Check back soon for more information.
- With Poetry Lab, our website becomes a space for exploration into the language of poetry, sharing projects, letters, and essays by, to and about W.S. Merwin’s many-faceted works. As we dig deeper, we engage in conversation with our readers and community.
Just as Henry Thoreau wrote Walden Pond on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s property, who might write and study in W.S. Merwin’s palm forest? What school children might have their lives changed by putting their hands in the soil and planting palms?