Even Though the Whole World is Burning

Hosted by The Merwin Conservancy
Pulitzer winning poet W.S. Merwin

A feature documentary about the life and work of environmental activist, Poet Laureate, and two-time Pulitzer winner, W.S. Merwin. This preview screening is hosted by The Merwin Conservancy dedicated to preserving the living legacy of W.S. Merwin, his writing, his home, and his stunning palm forest. 

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 88th 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.

These tangible actions for the environment go hand-in-hand with his poetry, offering important insights for an era marked by environmental degradation, human disconnect with natural processes, and rapid climate change.

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.