Maui Film Festival
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2014 Archive

Even Though The Whole World Is Burning
Even Though The Whole World Is Burning
Feature Film Documentary
(2014, 85 mins)
World Premiere

“What happens as you face the fact that the entire world is slipping, literally dissolving, around you,” wondered American poet laureate W.S. Merwin on NPR’s Fresh Air as he ruminated his famous poem "Rain Light."

Taking its title from a line in that Pulitzer Prize-winning poem, this documentary visit with Mr. Merwin examines the life of a remarkable artist who has won almost every major poetry prize, and who has worked over three decades to preserve and regenerate native plants and palms at his Ha‘iku home.

Called The Merwin Conservancy, his home is now a preserve that holds the most comprehensive private collection of palms in the world. 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. 

Sprinkled with readings, this intimate portrait traces the arc of his life from a repressive childhood to his early fascination with the work of the European troubadours, a study that led him to rural France, then later his yearning to study Zen Buddhism. It was Zen that drew him to Hawai‘i.

“I don’t know that a poem is going to change the course of history,” he says. “But one can’t stop to wonder, to guess about its effects before one does these things.”

- JW

Screening Schedule
Sun, Jun 8th 5:00pm
MACC McCoy Theater

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