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Story | Oct 30, 2011W.S. Merwin's friendship with late Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz began in the 1960s when Merwin first introduced Milosz and fellow Pole Zbigniew Herbert to an audience at a poetry event in New York City. That early meeting was the start of a relationship that flourished over nearly 40 years. Merwin visited Southern California earlier this month to attend the Milosz Centenary Festival at Claremont McKenna College. Over the years, this festival — organized by the Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies and its director, professor Robert Faggen, a friend of Milosz's — has brought an array of distinguished writers to campus to discuss the legacy of the poet, who died in 2004. Past participants have included Seamus Heaney and Robert Hass; this year's guests included Robert Pinsky, C.K. Williams, Afar Nafisi, Adam Michnik, Meghan O'Rourke and many others, including Merwin.