So active and vital he is as a literary educator and organizer - he directs the University of Iowa’s justifiably renowned International Writing Program - that it’s almost possible to overlook Christopher Merrill’s own literary accomplishments. The author of four collections of poetry, numerous translations and edited volumes, and four non-fiction works of reportage, he is here with a new autobiographical prose book, Self-Portrait with Dogwood (Trinity University Press).
“His memoir, written as he was nearing his sixtieth year, traces the delicate, interactive web of creation that links humans and nature, illuminating how vital each small being, each plant, each person is to the whole. In travels across the globe, even to war zones where scenes of the depth of man’s depravity were seared into his soul, Merrill also found the wonder of humanity’s ability to love, to heal, and to connect; the dogwood serves both as a metaphor for this and, in its decline, as an “an augur of our fate” should we fail to honor these connections.” — Foreword Review.
“Christopher Merrill has always believed in quests. Over many years and many books he has traveled out, confronting fear, admiring the courage and conviction of others, standing on the shoulders of giants to peer into the future. Without knowing it, he has followed a path in his work that was once common for poets before they turned inward; transforming terror into beauty. ” — Los Angeles Review of Books.