The Book for My Brother

Tomaz Salamun, Author . Harcourt $16 (93p) ISBN 978-0-15-603205-6

Though he lives in Ljubljana and writes in Slovenian, Salamun has seriously influenced American writing through earlier translations and through time spent here. Salamun's fifth compilation in English shows his familiar strengths: one- and two-page odes and exclamations that shift easily between an anything-goes postsurrealist whimsy and a gloomier attention to recent history. Like Charles Simic, Salamun sets poems in tumbled-down villages, in the aftermath of mysterious wars, sometimes writing for and about vulnerable boys and girls, sometimes casting himself as the spirit of a place: "Slovenians, with my tongue I touched your children's palm/ and pressed their brains like muscat wine. I give you// back your home." Although it has 10 different translators (including the author himself), this collection makes as good an introduction as any to an eminent, still-wild spirit of Central Europe. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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