James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995) was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1977) for Divine Comedies (1976). His poetry falls into two distinct bodies of work: the polished and formalist lyric poetry of his early career, and the epic narrative of occult communication with spirits and angels, titled The Changing Light at Sandover (published in three volumes from 1976 to 1980), which dominated his later career. Although most of his published work was poetry, he also wrote essays, fiction, and plays.
James Ingram Merrill was born in New York City to Charles E. Merrill (1885-1956), the founding partner of the Merrill Lynch investment firm, and Hellen Ingram Merrill (1898-2000), a society reporter and publisher from Jacksonville, Florida. He was born at a residence which would become the site of the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, which Merrill would lament in the poem "8 West 11th Street" (1972).
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