The Poem Forest: Poet W. S. Merwin and the Palm Tree Forest He Grew from Scratch

by Carrie Fountain (Author) Chris Turnham (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Vibrant art and a poetic narration tell the tale of a US Poet Laureate who spent forty years planting the world's most comprehensive palm tree forest--and then gave it all away. All his life, William Stanley searched for a wild place of his own. Growing up in the straightened-out city blocks of his childhood and finding some respite in summer trips to a cabin in the woods, William Stanley yearned for space, fragrant soil, tall trees, and the silence that surrounds them. In Hawaii, he learned of acres of land depleted from toxic agricultural practices, and he became determined to restore that land and create one of the most comprehensive palm gardens in the world. With hope and lyricism, award-winning poet Carrie Fountain and artist Chris Turnham tell the enchanting story of famed US Poet Laureate and ecologist W. S. Merwin, who planted nearly three thousand palm trees on his property in Hawaii, leaving as his legacy a wild space for everyone. Budding ecologists--and budding poets--will discover more about W. S. Merwin's life in an author's note in the back matter.
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Review quotes

A sensitive exploration of an untidy, meaningful existence.
—Kirkus Reviews

Fountain relates Merwin's poems' effect on readers to his work healing the forest. Her precise, well-worded text is both dignified and accessible. Primarily using forms and colors found in nature, Turnham's digital art creates a quiet tone while showcasing Merwin's forest.
Carrie Fountain
Carrie Fountain is an award-winning poet whose book Burn Lake was a National Poetry Series winner. Her work has been published in Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, and the New Yorker. Carrie Fountain lives in Texas with her family.

Chris Turnham is an artist and illustrator whose books include The Wish Tree and Hello, Rain!, both by Kyo Maclear, and National Parks of the U.S.A. by Kate Siber. Chris Turnham has also worked as a visual development artist in the animation industry. He lives in Los Angeles.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JNF042000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Poetry | General
JNF007000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | General
JNF037020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Environmental Conservation & Protection
Library of Congress categories

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