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Without End: New and Selected Poems Paperback – Mar 18 2003

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Fools and Mortals

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528614
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #429,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

As he left his native Poland and turned from the committed poetry of his "Generation 69" youth, Zagajewski began to infuse his work with a deep distrust of the darker potentials of language as a tool of recruitment, ready-made allegiance and/or retaliation. What remains, powerfully, is restitution and revelation; Zagajewski has picked up the mantle of mystical, Catholic Romanticism offered by Herbert and Milosz. Showcased here are the loose, abstract, dreamy lyrics that have become his trademark, the bulk of which are drawn from three previous U.S. releases: Tremor: Selected Poems (1985), Canvas (1991) and Mysticism for Beginners (1997). For Zagajewski, all cities are Lvov, the city his family fled, whose streets are now available to him only through remembrance and imagination. A symbol of superfluity ("There was always too much of Lvov"), of Romantic desire and the lost paradise which spurns, Lvov provides an ideal space into which the real world bleeds, and from whose confines one can reach the liberating vistas perceived by the unfettered mind. Such imaginative excesses, with their whimsical non-linearity and continual sway away from direct representational language, work best in the 48 new poems here when the poet's sense of humor prevents, particularly in translation, Romantic imagery from veering into sentiment when the speaker is able to ask facetiously, "But who could it have been,/ since the castle had been empty for so long,/ given up to bats and irony?/ Still everything seemed to indicate/ that someone was dying in the palace./ One couldn't overlook/ the signs of life." Readers won't be able to either. (Feb.)Forecast: The Paris-based Zagajewski, who teaches at the University of Houston every spring, is now eminent, well-reviewed, well-assigned and still makes excellent reading. This will be the Zagajewski most readers buy for the next few years, and the substantial amount of new work should ensure major prize contention.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Essayist, novelist, and poet Zagajewski (Mysticism for Beginners) was one of the most prolific voices of the Polish New Wave movement of the late 1960s. Consider these haunting lines from an early poem appearing here, which exemplify the quality of his work at the time: "I couldn't paint, my voice cracked/ I didn't pass the high school finals,/ I couldn't be an artist. They assigned me/ to the infantry." Zagajewksi has been living in exile in Paris since 1982, however, and the poems from the following decade are filled with absence and longing, the familiar re-created amidst the foreign. The new poems, which make up the first 60 pages of this book, seem to have lost their crispness and sense of urgency, and the imagery has become contrived: "it seems/ you're starting to make peace/ why not me?" It is unfortunate that this book lacks an introduction, which might have been useful in chronicling the surprising shifts in Zagajewski's work. Recommended only for larger collections, but keep in mind that this Polish exile teaches part of the year at the University of Houston. Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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