World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions

Eliot Weinberger, Editor
Eliot Weinberger, Editor New Directions Publishing Corporation $14.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1651-7
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Essayist and translator Weinberger has culled this sampler of 24 international poets mostly from the pages of their New Directions books. Recent American poets like Forest Gander, Rosmarie Waldrop and Susan Howe collide with poets from around the world, such as Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz and Swedish heavyweight Tomas Transtromer. By turns philosophical-""To enter the real, / how far / must we feel beyond / the world in which we already are?"" (Charles Tomlinson)-ironic-""I do not know English, and therefore I can have nothing to say about this latest war"" (Michael Palmer)-and direct-""I thank everyone I don't love. / They don't cause me heartache"" (Dunya Mikhail)-this anthology is less a catalogue of cultural differences than an inquiry into the universal sources of perception and imagination. Anne Carson's self-referential and unknowable God, for whom ""God's own calmness is a sign of God"" meets Gu Cheng's God ""who lets you cherish the sand, pockets, and the children."" This anthology impressively represents the ways New Directions has blurred the boundaries between one poet's-and perhaps one nation's- concerns and those of another, offering a fresh look at the international poetry scene.
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