Dressed in Light

Jaroslav Seifert, Author, Tom O'Grady, Designed by, Paul Jagasich, Designed by
Jaroslav Seifert, Author, Tom O'Grady, Designed by, Paul Jagasich, Designed by Seventh Son Press $4.95 (30p) ISBN 978-0-933837-40-9
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Carefully and lovingly translated into English for the first time, this volume by Nobel laureate Seifert is a rich, multilayered work affirming the transcendent powers of love and beauty amidst the fear and gloom of a country whose political and artistic freedoms are about to be quashed. Written just prior to the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, this long poem follows one man's journey through the streets of Prague, which awakens in him a keen awareness of humanity's dichotomous potential for greatness and destruction. He sees ``Children running in a noisy, green / . . . drunk from the beauty of things.'' Yet the poet acknowledges the oncoming creative repression with the metaphor of a visit to the tomb of a poet. Seifert's voice is at its most eloquent--and elegiac--when extolling the sublime virtues of innocent love: ``Snowfall of scattered flowers in the room, / Dropped there by the hands of white maidens, . . . / I rise on tiptoe to see you bloom.'' Although readers may not comprehend Seifert's many historical allusions, the poet provides a meaningful allegory for the cycles of human existence in language that is sensuous, lyrical and wise. (June)
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