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James Merrill is far more conservative than most of his cohort, writing in rhyme and standard meter. In a period whose poetry is marked by self-revelation, emotional intensity and extremity, he is decidedly cool, discreet and even remote. This chapter explains Merill's two poems: Jim's Book and Water Street. His first volume, Jim's Book, financed by his father, was published when he was only sixteen. Another limited edition followed four years later and it was not until his third commercially published volume, Water Street, that his work became widely noticed. One of the ways Merrill developed to deflect his meanings is through riddles, refusing to utter key words. A similar but far more elaborate riddling passage occurs in Strato in Plaster. Merrill is an inveterate punster and puns can be said to be the accidental mismatch between sounds and ideas.