Here - Wislawa Szymborska

One of the most down-to-earth poets writing today (even her poem “Metaphysics” comes with “a side of fries”), the 1996 Nobel winner, Wislawa Szymborska has a warm affection for everything HERE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22). Now nearly 90, Szymborska, writes frequently about time: the time left is short, but the times stored in memory are rich. Memory, like other abstractions, becomes immediate and concrete in this poet’s hands. Confronting her long-gone teenage self, a girl she finds “strange to me, and distant,” Szymborska recognizes that both wear the scarf “crocheted for her/by our mother.” In other poems she imagines Ella Fitzgerald in heaven; interviews Atropos, the cutter of life’s thread; charts the disintegration of a Greek sculpture; and offers a post-Apocalyptic scenario in which the weather inherits the Earth. These multi-faceted views of the afterlife complement her celebration of the stuff of everyday life where there’s always the possibility of finding “fortune in misfortune.” Szymborska’s long-time translators, Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak, have turned the original Polish (printed here) into superbly natural English poems.

Here By Wislawa Szymborska Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547592091
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - August 7th, 2012

Human Chain - Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney’s poetry is loved for many reasons. “Like a nest/of cross hatched grass blades,” it offers the textures of nature, down to the soil and roots; it explores history, with special attention to the past as encapsulated in words’ etymologies; it endows the everyday with touches of myth and magic; and it coaxes some amazing rhythms and sounds from English. HUMAN CHAIN (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24), the Nobel laureate’s twelfth collection, features all this and more. Opening and closing with a wind blowing, the book recognizes that time passes and things change, but at its core, this work honors what lasts. Solid objects—farm machines, books, pens—abound here, and “everywhere plants/flourish among graves.” The volume’s many elegies stand less as testimonials to loss than as vivid portraits of vital individuals, each forming a link in the “human chain” of sustaining friendships that’s as solid and beautiful a handicraft as any of the material artifacts.

Human Chain: Poems By Seamus Heaney Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374533007
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 30th, 2011

Master of Disguises - Charles Simic

The former Poet Laureate Charles Simic is our great chronicler of catalogs and juxtapositions. The world he presents is indeed a MASTER OF DISGUISES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22), offering simultaneously “the smell of freshly baked bread,” “The sight of a building blackened by fire,” old men, babies, faith, apocalypse, good and evil. In trying to make a coherent picture of the discombobulating variety of everyday life, Simic confronts the great moral questions. How can someone be moved by a song after having “sent thousands to their deaths”? These spare lyrics unfold vivid detail by vivid detail, posing difficult questions but also celebrating the lighter side of American life with its boardwalks and chess games in the park. Simic is a meticulous observer, one who always “sees the world with his heart.”

Master of Disguises By Charles Simic Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547397092
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - October 6th, 2010