Recent & Notable
Seamus Heaney, The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles’ Antigone. (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2004). 79 pp. $18.00. An elegant, taut rendering of Sophocles’s play into an Irish-inflected English that simultaneously summons up the classical grace of the original and its contemporaneity. In Heaney’s subtle translation, the play dramatizes the ethics–and perils-of rashly using state power with a translucent, elegiac force.
Maxine Chernoff, Among the Names. (Berkeley: Apogee Press, 2005). 69 pp. $14.95. “Maxine Chernoff’s wide-ranging study of the “gift” employs humor, social commentary and nuanced meditation. Among the Names suggests poetry as a vehicle for ethics-not in sense of proscribing moral virtue, but as a mode of experience in which acuteness of perception can model both compassion and sharp critque. Chernoff is an alchemically subtle reader of human economies.” —Elizabeth Robinson
The Selected Poems of of Federico Garcia Lorca, edited, with a Preface, by Francisco Garcia Lorca and Donald M. Allen. (New York: New Directions, 2005). 192 pp. $14.95. Reissued by New Directions, with a new introduction by W.S. Merwin, this collection captures the surrealistic density of Lorca’s language in translations by a diverse collection of writers, including Langston Hughes and Stephen Spender. “What he wrote in his short life made it impossible to imagine the poetry not only of Spain and the Spanish language everywhere but of the whole Western world, since then, without him.” —W.S. Merwin
Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems. Translated by Willis Barnstone. (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2004. 516 pp. $17.00. A great sprawling book which will do much to fix Machado’s vivid, poignant poetic achievement in the English-speaking world. “Willis Barnstone has been appointed a special angel to bring the ‘other’ to our attention, to show how it is done. He illuminates the spirit for us and clarifies the unclarifiable…” —Gerald Stern
Jon Thompson, The Book of the Floating World. (West Lafayette, Indiana: Parlor Press, 2004). 76 pp. $12.00. “If history is the patient work of interpreting those records of the dead that are left to us, Jon Thompson’s searching poems are genuinely historical-acts of listening and looking with a complex, and empathetic, attention. These poems, with their grave cadences and moral clarity, in the end counter the blinding white light of disaster that suffuses them.” —Susan Stewart