Providing a unique window into a poetic tradition little known and little understood in the West, Contemporary East European Poetry features one hundred and thirty poets from ten countries, with works translated from fifteen languages. Emery George, himself a distinguished poet and translator, here brings together over five hundred poems expertly rendered into beautiful, English verse by ninety translators, often working in collaboration with the original author. Represented are poets from many walks of life, contrasting religious and political outlooks, those working at home and in exile, and most importantly, poets who work in a wide variety of styles--from traditional forms to the most up-to-date experimental modes. Here are tightly woven Petrarchan sonnets and dramatic monologues alongside the free verse and mathematical experiments of a new generation. Preference is given throughout to the genuinely lyrical, to work that stresses the inventive use of language and the poet's tools and craftsmanship.
The years of the 1960s and 1970s, filled as they were with the winds of change--both in society and in art--constitute the heart of this volume. There are poets both young and old, living and, in some cases, recently deceased. Poets born before 1940 are featured next to senior figures whose first distinguished work may date as far back as the twenties and thirties, but whose influence and works remained central during the two decades on which the collection focuses. While most of the poems are appearing here in English for the very first time, all are freshly translated for this volume. Earlier English versions, when they exist, appear side-by-side with the newly translated poem.
There is no other volume available that even approaches the scope of Contemporary East European Poetry. For lovers of poetry and literature, and for those simply interested in a rich culture so long cut off from the world at large, it offers a wealth of insights and opportunities for discovery.
"Extremely useful and timely edition."--Joseph Conte, State University of New York at Buffalo
"A nice anthology with a wonderful selection of poets."--Lily Phillips, Duke University
"Very timely and worthwhile!"--John Felstiner, Stanford University
"This is a valuable compilation, especially for the up date section, and should be of compelling interest to any course on poetry, or in courses on Comparative Literature, European Studies, Humanities, etc., in which all readings are in English. . . . This anthology opens a world unknown to most of us, but well worth looking into, for reasons both literary and cultural."--Murray Sachs, Brandeis University
"An indispensable text for students in translation and creative writing programs; offers a unique and inviting introduction to the poetry of the region."--Seymour Mayne, University of Ottawa
"A praiseworthy attempt to mount a travelling exhibition of East European Poetry....This anthology offers exciting glimpses of poetic worlds still to be fully mapped."--The Times Literary Supplement
"Though a very few East European poets, like Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert of Poland, hjave come to international attention, even the most proficient and prolific have reputations largely restricted, by language as much as politics, to their own countries. All the more welcome, then, is this very large representation of 130 poets from 10 Eastern bloc countries writing in 15 languages....In making this fresh compilation, Professor George has been aided by
several expert consultants, and the validity of the translations is confirmed by the many very distinguished names among the 90 who rendered these diverse tongues into English."--Booklist
"This ambitious anthology has long been overdue....Emery George and all the contributors to this anthology are to be congratulated for an excellent introduction to Slavic and East European poetry. Here is a work that can be used in poetry and translating courses and, at the same time, can stand as a mini-reference to non-Western poets."--World Literature Today
"A good anthology, rich in the range off reading experience, attractive in the warm understanding of the editors who chose the pieces and certainly unique as a store of knowledge about East European poetry."--Journal of Baltic Studies
"Wow! This is just what I want. It picks up where Postwar Polish Poetry and other anthologies stop."--Sam Garner, North Carolina A&T State University
"A must for everybody interested in European literature."--Peter Steiner, University of Pennsylvania
"A high-quality collection of poetry in translation. The poetry in this collection succeeds wonderfully in giving Western readers a sense of the variety of East European poetry, but just as important, a sense of the profound difference in voice and vision between East European poetry and its Western counterpart."--Thomas C. Carlson, The Commercial Appeal