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

The Poem Forest: Poet W. S. Merwin and the Palm Tree Forest He Grew from Scratch
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
September 13, 2022
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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.

Editor review

1 review
Poetry and the Outdoors
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
William Stanley grew up in the city with his family, but loves the majestic feel to the wilderness. It's what gives him the most inspiration with his poetry, something his teacher always encouraged when she noticed how talented he was. When he gets older, he moves to a patch of land away from the bustling city that the locals swears will never grow crops. William was determined to prove them wrong and accomplished what he set out to do. No matter how many people told him he couldn't, he brought the area around him to life with his hard work and inspirational poems.

THE POEM FOREST celebrates William Stanley who wrote poems under the name W. S. Merwin and is well known for a variety of collections. While educating children about William's life, it also encourages them to chase their dreams and do what they love. The illustrations are adorable and I love the softer art style. The lyrical writing makes it an easy read while teaching a bit of poetic history that focuses on overcoming the odds.

Final Verdict: I would recommend this to children who enjoy poems and history. It's also a good read for those who love the outdoors as much as William does.
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