Former U.S. Poet Laureate William S. Merwin fainted at a dinner where he was a keynote speaker Wednesday night at Claremont McKenna College in California.
Merwin, 83, a Maui resident, was speaking at the Milosz Centenary Festival when he collapsed, a college professor said.
He was taken to the emergency room at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona, where he was undergoing observation.
His wife, Paula, said it was fainting spell due to exhaustion but he’s recovering nicely and reciting poetry to his colleagues in the emergency room.
“He’s fine,” said Paula.
She said Merwin had a similar fainting spell on New Year’s Eve three years ago and went to the emergency room on Maui.
The fainting spells stem from his susceptibility to exhaustion from a surgery he had about 10 years ago, she said.
She said her husband has had a rigorous schedule of readings recently.
Merwin stepped down as poet laureate on Monday.
He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for poetry.
Merwin also has been involved in developing the Merwin Conservancy. He has an extensive collection of palms that he planted over the decades at his rural residence on the Valley Isle.
— Star-Advertiser staff