Synopses & Reviews
Poetry. Poems born in "a time of abrupt needs," this collection catalogs those individual and imperative fancies that, in the cosmos of Tomaz Salamun, eternity aims to replace: A genealogy of dressmakers and songbirds. A biography that locates the poetic "I" as, at once, a primordial being and a tamer of beasts, a monster and a guardian angel. With uncanny and sometimes harrowing grace, Salamun plumbs every reach of the imagination in search of a space where we can delight in and mourn the disintegration of the body. The nine translators who collaborated to bring out this new book by a "major Central European poet" (The New Yorker) include Thomas Kane, Peter Richards, Phillis Levin, Joshua Beckman, Ana Jelnikar, Christopher Merrill, Matthew Rohrer, Brian Henry, and Anselm Hollo.
Poems born in "a time of abrupt needs," There’s the Hand and There’s the Arid Chair
catalogues those individual and imperative fancies that, in the cosmos of Tomaz Salamun, eternity aims to replace:
- A genealogy of dressmakers and songbirds.
- A topography of hulking oil tankers and coldwater flats.
- A biography that locates the poetic "I" as, at once, a primordial being and a tamer of beasts, a monster and a guardian angel.
With uncanny and sometimes harrowing grace, Salamun plumbs every reach of the imagination in search of a space where we can simultaneously delight in and mourn the disintegration of the body. And it is here, in this borderland of the unreal and the everyday, that love is consumed so its contours might not be forgotten, that life carries on in the dying wish that a bicycle might be purchased. There's the Hand and There's the Arid Chair brings nine accomplished translators into collaboration for a new book by this "major Central European poet". The New Yorker
"Tomaz Salamun's latest book of poems to be translated into English, There's the Hand and There's the Arid Chair, is as difficult as the title suggests. The book has to be read slowly, carefully, over and over for it to unfurl; the poetry is not immediately accessible and requires commitment, dedication. It is demanding, complex and strange. It can't be absorbed in the span of a single read. Rather, this is the kind of book that I want to come back to over the next year, or ten. The kind of book I want to live with. The language leaves the reader with little choice in the matter -- Salamun's work is jammed with lines and phrases that stick in the mind, resurfacing in moments of quiet reflection, or on the train when the mind loosens in the press of the everyday. And that press is what Salamun's work, especially in this book, evokes." Erica Mena, Cerise Press (Read the entire Cerise Press review)
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About the Author
Tomaz Salamun was born in 1941 in Zagreb, but grew up in Koper, a coastal town in Slovenia south of Trieste. In 1966 he graduated in Art History from Ljubljana University. Salamun, who won the Preseren Prize in 2000, was the leading figure of the Slovenian poetic avant-garde in the 1960s and in the 1970s. In the early 1970s he spent two years in Iowa at the International Writing Program, and he has lived on and off in the US since then. In 1996 he became Slovenian Cultural Attaché in New York. He has published 34 volumes of poetry in Slovenian. His work has also been translated into fifteen different languages, reaching a total of 45 volumes, and he has been included in numerous anthologies. He was a former Fulbright Fellow at Colombia University in New York and visiting professor at the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Richmond, and Tennessee. He has also been in residence at DAAD Berlin, Bogliasco, Cité des Arts Paris, Yaddo, and McDowell.