AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: MARILYN ALVA
As a young man, James Merrill seemed to have everything.
The son of famed Wall Street broker Charles Merrill, co-founder of Merrill Lynch & Co., Merrill never really had to work for a living. He had the means to travel widely and live wherever he wanted.
He knew his wealth wasn't his achievement, it was his father's. What he wanted was to make his own way in the world of literature.
He feared that because of his wealth, he wouldn't be taken seriously. "I felt that in a way I was set apart from (other writers) and that therefore I had to try even a bit harder . . . to prove myself," Merrill told an interviewer.
Even so, critics often labeled him an elitist and a dilettante.
That didn't stop Merrill (1926-95) from pursuing his chosen craft. He worked every day, sitting down at his desk at 6:30 a.m. and writing and revising for hours.
He produced 15 volumes of poetry over more than four decades, including a 500-page, three-part epic poem.