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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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The Collected Poems 1956-1998

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The Collected Poems 1956-1998 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Every great poet lives between two worlds. One of these is the real, tangible world of history, private for some and public for others. The other world is a dense layer of dreams, imagination, fantasms. It sometimes happens...that this second world takes on gigantic proportions, that it becomes inhabited by numerous spirits, that it is haunted by leo Africanus and other ancient magi.

These two territories conduct complex negotiations, the result of which are poems. Poets strive for the first world, the real one, conscientiously trying to reach it, to reach the place where the minds of many people meet; but their efforts are hindered by the second world, just as the dreams and hallucinations of certain sick people prevent them from understanding and experiencing events in their waking hours. except that in great poets these hindrances are rather a symptom of mental health, since the world is by nature dual, and poets pay tribute with their own duality to the true structure of reality, which is composed of day and night, sober intelligence and fleeting fantasies, desire and gratification.

There is no poetry without this duality....

And this is the common vector of all Herbert's poetry; let us not be misled by its adornments, its nymphs and satyrs, its columns and quotations. this poetry is about the pain of the twentieth century, about accepting the cruelty of an inhuman age, about an extraordinary sense of reality. And the fact that at the same time the poet loses none of his lyricism or his sense of humor—this is the unfathomable secret of a great artist.

—from the introduction by Adam Zagajewski (translated by Bill Johnston)

Review:

"Herbert (1924 — 1998) lived to witness his hometown of Lww, Poland, occupied by the Soviets in 1939, the Nazis in 1941, and the Soviets again in 1944. This exposure to systematic and violent oppression awakened in Herbert a protective and motivating skepticism that pervades all his poetry: 'If you put trust in your five senses/ the world contracts into a hazelnut.' This impeccably, newly translated and edited volume finds Herbert, strongly anticommunist throughout his life, determined to resist the reduction of the human to anything easily measured, manipulated and forgotten, even if history keeps reminding us that 'only our dreams have not been humiliated.' Tender, wary, melancholy and wry, the poems visit ideas of redemption as one might visit a grave site, i.e., knowing that what you seek can only be experienced in the heart and mind. If one attempts through poetry to 'offer to the betrayed world / a rose,' Herbert's world-weary, tragicomic alter-ego, Mr. Cogito — one of last century's most memorable poetic personages — warns us that the gesture will probably go unnoticed, especially in an age when even 'the temple of freedom/ has been turned into a flea market.' Finally, the work of this powerful master of 20th-century literature is all in one place." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"For over three decades, many American poets have recognized Polish-born Zbigniew Herbert as one of the most innovative, penetrating and original poets of the post-WW II era. But with much of his work untranslated or out of print, he has remained a secret pleasure, overshadowed by the acclaim of his compatriot, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz. Now after years of copyright quarrels and delays, the new,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

This outstanding new translation brings a uniformity of voice to Zbigniew Herbert's entire poetic output, from his first book of poems, String of Light, in 1956, to his final volume, previously unpublished in English, Epilogue Of the Storm. Collected Poems: 1956-1998, as Joseph Brodsky said of Herbert's SSelected Poems, is "bound for a much longer haul than any of us can anticipate." He continues, "For Zbigniew Herbert's poetry adds to the biography of civilization the sensibility of a man not defeated by the century that has been most thorough, most effective in dehumanization of the species. Herbert's irony, his austere reserve and his compassion, the lucidity of his lyricism, the intensity of his sentiment toward classical antiquity, are not just trappings of a modern poet, but the necessary armor—in his case well-tempered and shining indeed—for man not to be crushed by the onslaught of reality. By offering to his readers neither aesthetic nor ethical discount, this poet, in fact, saves them frorn that poverty which every form of human evil finds so congenial. As long as the species exists, this book will be timely."

About the Author

Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998) was a spiritual leader of the anticommunist movement in Poland. His work has been translated into almost every Euro-pean language, and he won numerous prizes, including the Jerusalem Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His books include Selected Poems, Report from the Besieged City and Other Poems, Mr Cogito, Still Life with a Bridle, and King of the Ants, all published by Ecco.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060783907
Subtitle:
1956-1998
Publisher:
Ecco
Translator:
Milosz, Czeslaw
Introduction:
Zagajewski, Adam
Editor:
Valles, Alissa
Editor:
Hass, Robert
Author:
by Zbigniew Herbert
Author:
Herbert, Zbigniew
Subject:
General
Subject:
Continental european
Subject:
General Poetry
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070206
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
624
Dimensions:
9.33x6.52x1.45 in. 1.83 lbs.

Related Subjects

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The Collected Poems 1956-1998
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Product details 624 pages Ecco - English 9780060783907 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Herbert (1924 — 1998) lived to witness his hometown of Lww, Poland, occupied by the Soviets in 1939, the Nazis in 1941, and the Soviets again in 1944. This exposure to systematic and violent oppression awakened in Herbert a protective and motivating skepticism that pervades all his poetry: 'If you put trust in your five senses/ the world contracts into a hazelnut.' This impeccably, newly translated and edited volume finds Herbert, strongly anticommunist throughout his life, determined to resist the reduction of the human to anything easily measured, manipulated and forgotten, even if history keeps reminding us that 'only our dreams have not been humiliated.' Tender, wary, melancholy and wry, the poems visit ideas of redemption as one might visit a grave site, i.e., knowing that what you seek can only be experienced in the heart and mind. If one attempts through poetry to 'offer to the betrayed world / a rose,' Herbert's world-weary, tragicomic alter-ego, Mr. Cogito — one of last century's most memorable poetic personages — warns us that the gesture will probably go unnoticed, especially in an age when even 'the temple of freedom/ has been turned into a flea market.' Finally, the work of this powerful master of 20th-century literature is all in one place." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , This outstanding new translation brings a uniformity of voice to Zbigniew Herbert's entire poetic output, from his first book of poems, String of Light, in 1956, to his final volume, previously unpublished in English, Epilogue Of the Storm. Collected Poems: 1956-1998, as Joseph Brodsky said of Herbert's SSelected Poems, is "bound for a much longer haul than any of us can anticipate." He continues, "For Zbigniew Herbert's poetry adds to the biography of civilization the sensibility of a man not defeated by the century that has been most thorough, most effective in dehumanization of the species. Herbert's irony, his austere reserve and his compassion, the lucidity of his lyricism, the intensity of his sentiment toward classical antiquity, are not just trappings of a modern poet, but the necessary armor—in his case well-tempered and shining indeed—for man not to be crushed by the onslaught of reality. By offering to his readers neither aesthetic nor ethical discount, this poet, in fact, saves them frorn that poverty which every form of human evil finds so congenial. As long as the species exists, this book will be timely."
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