The Weight of the Body: Selected Poems

Stanisaw Baranczak, Author Triquarterly Books $16.95 (68p) ISBN 978-0-929968-01-8
``Exile is just one spectacular float in a long parade of Life's Unpredictable Turns,'' suggests Harvard professor Baranczak, Polish poet, critic and translator who since 1981 has lived in the U.S. His first full-length collection to be published in this country, winner of TriQuarterly 's Terrence Des Pres Prize, reveals him as a master of sad ironies and a ringleader of an extraordinary band of poetic voices ranging in scope from mournful lyricism to bitter farce. The book falls neatly into two halves: the first is concerned with Baranczak's Central European past, haunted by a Kafkaesque bureaucracy; the second chronicles the poet as an uneasy emigre. Yet Baranczak's powerful theme remains constant--the fundamental injustice, shame and horror of the human condition, ``because only this world / is pain,'' and the damning futility of solutions. With black humor and exceptional lyrical force, Baranczak affirms that ``poetry has always been a desperate call for fair play.'' (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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