Beloved Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard (1931–89) began his career in the early 1950s as a poet. Over the next decade, Bernhard wrote thousands of poems and published four volumes of intensely wrought and increasingly personal verse, with such titles as On Earth and in Hell, InHoraMortis, and Under the Iron of the Moon. Bernhard’s early poetry, bearing the influence of Georg Trakl, begins with a deep connection to his Austrian homeland. As his poems saw publication and recognition, Bernhard seemed always on the verge of joining the ranks of Ingeborg Bachmann, Paul Celan, and other young post-war poets writing in German. During this time, however, his poems became increasingly obsessive, filled with an undulant self-pity, counterpointed by a defamatory, bardic voice utterly estranged from his country, all of which resulted in a magisterial work of anti-poetry—one that represents Bernhard’s own harrowing experience, with the leitmotif of success–failure, that makes his fiction such a pleasure.
For all of these reasons, Bernhard’s Collected Poems, translated into English for the first time by James Reidel, is a key to understanding the irascible black comedy found in virtually all of Bernhard’s writings—even down to his last will and testament. There is much to be found in these pages for Bernhard fans of every stripe.
Edwin Rolfe (1909-54) is best known as the poet laureate of the Abraham
Lincoln Battalion, the Americans who volunteered to help defend the elected
Spanish government during its 1936-39 civil war. His career began in the
revolutionary Left in New York in the 1920s and continued into the 1950s,
when Rolfe wrote searing poetry attacking the McCarthy-era witch-hunts.
Donald Davie University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress PR6007.A667A17 1991 | Dewey Decimal 821.914
Donald Davie's poems are here arranged chronologically from the 1950s to the beginning of the 1990s. Taken together, the poems display that reverence for the distinctive qualities of the English language which has earned him a name as one of Britain's finest living poets.
"Davie's voice—judgemental, ironic, epigrammatic, humorous, self-lacerating—speaks always with reference to an unhuman perpendicular standard that itself goes unquestioned. It is not a standard of Beauty or Truth; Davie is a poet of the third member of the Platonic triad, Justice."—Helen Vendler, The New Yorker
"[Davie's poems] are on the quiet side, often casual and musing in mood and tone; determined to resist large gestures of assent or denial. . .Donald Davie may just be the best English poet-critic of our time."—William Pritchard, The New Republic
"Donald Davie's Collected Poems does more than mark the culmination of one of the most distinguished careers in post-war British poetry; it is the autobiographical journey of a living poet at the height of his creative powers and the mastery of his craft. Davie is considered the most important and valuable contemporary link between poetry in England and America."—Sarah E. McNeil, Little Rock Free Press
Collected Poems, 1952–1999
Robert Mezey University of Arkansas Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3563.E98A6 2000 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
This important collection of poems, which spans a career of nearly fifty years, demonstrates Robert Mezey's development as a notable stylist, thinker, and poet. Moving from adaptations of Latin and Spanish poems to prayers and lamentations, from elegies and plaints of lost love to flights of comic and ribald fancy, his poetry reaches to the extremes of human experience. The death of friends and family, one's self-betrayals and self-infatuations, the comical confusion of a worried mother, the art of a doomed Jewish child in a Nazi concentration camp—all these human dramas play out bravely against the backdrop of the beautiful, indifferent path. Mezey can portray aging and death or sing of love and nature with an accuracy of perception and an intensity of feeling heightened by formal clarity and restraint. With his razor-sharp eye for the singular detail, he describes missed opportunities and moments of human weakness and loss in gestures so real the reader will ache. In capturing the pain of religious doubt, the pangs of tenderness and elation, and the vagaries of fate so honestly, Mezey has wrought a high finish to each poem so that, in the words of Donald Justice, they become "absolute classics of calm and beauty."
The former Poet Laureate of the United States, Nemerov gives us a lucid and precise twist on the commonplaces of everyday life.
The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1978.
"Howard Nemerov is a witty, urbane, thoughtful poet, grounded in the classics, a master of the craft. It is refreshing to read his work. . . . "—Minneapolis Tribune
"The world causes in Nemerov a mingled revulsion and love, and a hopeless hope is the most attractive quality in his poems, which slowly turn obverse to reverse, seeing the permanence of change, the vices of virtue, the evanescence of solidities and the errors of truth."—Helen Vendler, New York Times Book Review
Muriel Rukeyser held a visionary belief in the human capacity to create social change through language. She earned an international reputation as a powerful voice against enforced silences of all kind, against the violence of war, poverty, and racism. Her eloquent poetry of witness-of the Scottsboro Nine, the Spanish Civil War, the poisoning of the Gauley Bridge laborers-split the darkness covering a shameful world.
In addition to the complete texts of her twelve previously published books, this volume also features new poems discovered by the editors; Rukeyser's translations, including the first English translations of Octavio Paz's work; early work by Rukeyser not previously published in book form; and the controversial book-length poem Wake Island. An introduction by the editors traces Rukeyser's life and literary reputation and complements discerning annotations and textual notes to the poems.
Arguably the greatest African-American poet of the century, Sterling Brown was instrumental in bringing the traditions of African-American folk life to readers all over the world. This is the definitive collection of Brown's poems, and the only edition available in the U.S.
The complete poems of the two-time finalist for the Nobel Prize in Literature, available in English for the first time
This volume collects and translates—most for the first time—the nine volumes of poetry published by Édouard Glissant, a poet, novelist, and critic increasingly recognized as one of the great writers of the twentieth century. The poems bring to life what Glissant calls “an archipelago-like reality,” partaking of the exchanges between Europe and its former colonies, between humans and their geographies, between the poet and the natural world.
Reciting and re-creating histories of the African diaspora, Columbus’s “discovery” of the New World, the slave trade, and the West Indies, Glissant underscores the role of poetic language in changing both past and present irrevocably. As translator Jeff Humphries writes in his introduction, Glissant’s poetry embraces the aesthetic creed of the French symbolists Mallarmé and Rimbaud (“The poet must make himself into a seer”) and aims at nothing less than a hallucinatory experience of imagination in which the differences among poem, reader, and subject dissolve into one immediate present.
Born in Martinique in 1928, influenced by the controversial Martinican poet/politician Aimé Césaire, and educated at the Sorbonne in Paris, Édouard Glissant has emerged as one of the most influential postcolonial theorists, novelists, playwrights, and poets not only in the Caribbean but also in contemporary French letters. He has twice been a finalist for the Nobel Prize in Literature as well as the recipient of both the Prix Renaudot and the Prix Charles Veillon in France. His works include Poetics of Relation, Caribbean Discourse, Faulkner Mississippi, and the novel The Ripening. He currently serves as Distinguished Professor of French at City University of New York, Graduate Center.
This groundbreaking edition compiles many of the late unpublished works of American writer Djuna Barnes (1892–1982). Because she published only seven poems and a play during the last forty years of her life, scholars believed Barnes wrote almost nothing during this period. But at the time of her death her apartment was filled with multiple drafts of unpublished poetry and notes toward her memoirs, both included here for the first time. Best known for her tragic lesbian novel Nightwood, Barnes has always been considered a crucial modernist. Her later poetry will only enhance this reputation as it shows her remarkable evolution from a competent young writer to a deeply intellectual poet in the metaphysical tradition. With the full force of her biting wit and dramatic flair, Barnes’s autobiographical notes describe the expatriate scene in Paris during the 1920s, including her interactions with James Joyce and Gertrude Stein and her intimate recollections of T. S. Eliot. These memoirs provide a rare opportunity to experience the intense personality of this complex and fascinating poet.
CRITICS OF MYSTERY MARVEL is Youssef Alaoui's debut full-length poetry collection, which explores human relationships between individuals, cultures, races, and genders. He deftly utilizes archaic tones to formulate an artistic approach to metaphor in verse, creating images that appear wholly in the mind and not on the page. This volume consists of ten sections that explores Alaoui's family and heritage, an endless source of inspiration for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings. Blending surrealism, magical realism, and language alchemy, Alaoui explores the human mythos of love, poverty, politics, racism, and war. A few of the poems are written in French and Spanish, translated to English. Post-beat verse from the San Francisco Bay area and the Big-Sur, CRITICS OF MYSTERY MARVEL touches the depth of the soul with poetry that is metaphorically luminous.
In the world of Chilean poet Ariel Dorfman, men and women can be forced to choose between leaving their country or dying for it. The living risk losing everything, but what they hold onto—love, faith, hope, truth—might change the world. It is this subversive possibility that speaks through these poems. A succession of voices—exiles, activists, separated lovers, the families of those victimized by political violence—gives an account of ruptured safety. They bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of personal and social damage in the aftermath of terror. The first bilingual edition of Dorfman’s work, In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land includes ten new poems and a new preface, and brings back into print the classic poems of the celebrated Last Waltz in Santiago. Always an eloquent voice against the ravages of inhumanity, Dorfman’s poems, like his acclaimed novels, continue to be a searing testimony of hope in the midst of despair.
In the Home of the Famous Dead will appeal to newcomers as well as to avid followers of Jo McDougall’s long career and complex work, providing valuable insights to the development of a poet’s signature, inimitable style. This collection presents work known for its sparse, compact language; surprising metaphor; humor; irony; idiomatic speech; and a stoic, sadly earned wisdom concerning death and loss. In McDougall’s world, folks making do with what they have take the stage to speak of, in the words of one critic, “the tangled mysteries of their faltering lives.” Her work has been described as having “excruciating honesty” (Gerald Stern), giving voice to the “ineffable emotions of plain people” (Judith Kitchen). Miller Williams notes that the work has “cleanness and clarity . . . in all the funk and smell of humanity.” This is the poetry of midwestern plains and southern botttomlands, of waitresses and professors, farmers and bankers, the disadvantaged and privileged alike. Often beginning in the personal and expanding to the universal, this poet takes note of the phenomenological world with a mixture of joy, despair, and awe, providing a haunting look at the cosmic irony of our existence. McDougall’s style is indescribable, yet wholly accessible. As Kelly Cherry notes, “Call it magic, call it art; either way [Jo McDougall’s work] is something like a miracle.”
I don’t write "with the ear" as most poets do, but with the eye. As Deaf people are apt to do, we become attuned to our world through tactile means, listening through the bone for vibrations, sensing shifts in air currents, recognizing wafting odors, observing fluctuations and reflections of light and movements in the water.
In Listening through the Bone, Willy Conley bears witness to life’s moments and renders them into poems that are at once irreverent and tender. His poetry examines life cycles, the natural world, and his experiences as a Deaf individual. It is presented in five parts:
Conley’s thoughts on the banal and the bizarre include translations of poetry from American Sign Language to English. His identity as a Deaf poet lends a strong visual aspect to his work. This collection is accompanied by the author’s photographs, including “watergraphs” that reveal inverted images reflected in pools of water.
As a child of deaf adults (CODA), Pia Taavila first learned to communicate when her deaf father fingerspelled the names of toys in her crib and her mother showed her the signs for objects in picture books. From this primary visual orientation, in combination with her own innate sense of imagery, Taavila crafted the lush verse featured in Moon on the Meadow: Collected Poems.
Taavila uses the graphic power of her poetry to evoke emotions about all aspects of existence — love, loss of love, family, death, and desire — feelings elicited through a lens attuned to the simple beauty of the natural. Most of the poems in Moon on the Meadow have been published at least once in established journals, testimony to the broad appeal of her passionate outlook on life. Yet, Taavila believes that her experiences as a CODA are essential to her ability to write at all. She never strays far from her home, her family, and the comforts they bring her through her art:
At a wedding, a flautist’s
languid notes lilt on the air.
My mother, who cannot hear,
leans forward, attentive
to the dip and sway of his body.
She signs to me:
John Straley crafts here a collection of poems that pay homage to his home of the Pacific Northwest and southeastern Alaska. His narrative poetry is infused with sharp wit and delicate details, as he meditates on the natural world of the Pacific coastline and its rhythmic seasonal patterns, cycles of rain, and rich abundance of earth. Straley intertwines the personal and political to create elegies of refreshing honesty and universal scope, making The Rising and Rain a powerful work by one of the top emerging poets today.
Peruvian poet Luis Hernández is legendary in his native country. Haunted by addiction and spending periodic reclusion in rehabilitation centers, Hernández was exceptionally gifted in his youth, publishing three books of poetry by the time he was twenty-four. He did not publish another book before his untimely death at thirty-six, but he was not silent—he filled notebooks with poems, musical notations, quotes, translations, musings, newspaper clippings, and drawings.
Derived from these notebooks, The School of Solitude is the first book of Hernández’s poetry in English. The haunting voice of Hernández evokes an irrevocably distant past, with the poems contemplating happiness and joy, love and fulfillment, yet always with a sense of sadness, solitude, and dream. Including rare images from Hernández’s notebooks, as well as several poems never before published in any language, The School of Solitude will be read not only for its powerful poetry and imagery, but also as a means to learn more about this enigmatic Latin American poet and the mystery of his life and work.