The Shadow of Sirius - W. S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin has earned his distinguished place in American letters.  A prodigious poet, translator, and essayist, he has both a phenomenal output to his credit and an instantly recognizable lyric voice, one with rhythms so assured that Merwin can write poems without using punctuation. The Shadow Of Sirius (Copper Canyon, $22), his latest poetry collection, focuses on late-life themes like memory and time; in Merwin’s hands, each moment is both singular and rich with archetypal resonance. In a Proustian spirit, Merwin draws beautiful lyrics from a remembered patch of sunlight, a reflection in a tile, the sound of a trolley. While these moments inevitably pass, they also linger in a timeless transcendent state, and Merwin evokes this paradox in his many nature poems, celebrating the endless cyclical recurrence which, like the sky overseeing all, is “never unknown and never known.”

The Shadow of Sirius By W. S. Merwin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556593109
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Copper Canyon Press - October 1st, 2009

One Secret Thing - Sharon Olds

In her ninth collection, Sharon Olds continues to write the powerful, passionate poetry that has made her voice distinctive. These poems are rooted both in a social consciousness that speaks out against injustice, and in her inexhaustible memories of growing up in an unhappy and violent home. But if One Secret Thing (Knopf, $16.95) reflects Olds’s outrage at war and her bitter ambivalence toward her mother, it also tempers these emotions with tolerance, appreciation for beauty, and humor. At her dying mother’s bedside, Olds notes how her mother’s “throat made a guttural/creek bed sound, like pebbly relief.” Olds is never less than frank about illness, death, and relationships. Above all, she renders the full range of physical experience, whether her subject is loneliness, the aging body, or a photo of someone else’s suffering.

One Secret Thing By Sharon Olds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375711770
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - September 30th, 2008

Verses and Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry Selected and Translated - Vladimir Nabokov

Author, translator, and teacher—these three sides of Vladimir Nabokov are showcased in  Verses And Versions: Three Centuries of Russian Poetry (Harcourt, $40). First proposed in the 1950s, the idea of a volume of Nabokov’s English renderings of Russian poetry is finally a reality, co-edited by Nabokov’s biographer, Brian Boyd, and Stanislav Shvabrin. In addition to generous selections (in the original Russian and in English) of the works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Blok, Fet, and Mandelstam, among other 18th- through 20th-century poets, this anthology also includes Nabokov’s translations of several French poets, his own English lyrics, and essays on poetry, poets, and the art of translation which, as he noted in a poem to Pushkin, might at best come up with “roadside prose--/All thorn, but cousin to your rose.”