Herbert (1924–1998) lived to witness his hometown of Lwów, Poland, occupied by the Soviets in 1939, the Nazis in 1941, and the Soviets again in 1944. This exposure to systematic and violent oppression awakened in Herbert a protective and motivating skepticism that pervades all his poetry: "If you put trust in your five senses/ the world contracts into a hazelnut." This impeccably, newly translated and edited volume finds Herbert, strongly anticommunist throughout his life, determined to resist the reduction of the human to anything easily measured, manipulated and forgotten, even if history keeps reminding us that "only our dreams have not been humiliated." Tender, wary, melancholy and wry, the poems visit ideas of redemption as one might visit a grave site, i.e., knowing that what you seek can only be experienced in the heart and mind. If one attempts through poetry to "offer to the betrayed world / a rose," Herbert's world-weary, tragicomic alter-ego, Mr. Cogito—one of last century's most memorable poetic personages–warns us that the gesture will probably go unnoticed, especially in an age when even "the temple of freedom/ has been turned into a flea market." Finally, the work of this powerful master of 20th-century literature is all in one place. (Feb.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The Collected Poems, 1956-1998by Zbigniew Herbert
This outstanding new translation brings a uniformity of voice to Zbigniew Herbert's entire poetic output, from his first book of poems, String of Light, in 1956, to his final volume, previously unpublished in English, Epilogue Of the Storm. Collected Poems: 1956-1998, as Joseph Brodsky said of Herbert's SSelected Poems, is "bound/em>/em>/em>/em>… See more details below
This outstanding new translation brings a uniformity of voice to Zbigniew Herbert's entire poetic output, from his first book of poems, String of Light, in 1956, to his final volume, previously unpublished in English, Epilogue Of the Storm. Collected Poems: 1956-1998, as Joseph Brodsky said of Herbert's SSelected Poems, is "bound for a much longer haul than any of us can anticipate." He continues, "For Zbigniew Herbert's poetry adds to the biography of civilization the sensibility of a man not defeated by the century that has been most thorough, most effective in dehumanization of the species. Herbert's irony, his austere reserve and his compassion, the lucidity of his lyricism, the intensity of his sentiment toward classical antiquity, are not just trappings of a modern poet, but the necessary armor—in his case well-tempered and shining indeed—for man not to be crushed by the onslaught of reality. By offering to his readers neither aesthetic nor ethical discount, this poet, in fact, saves them frorn that poverty which every form of human evil finds so congenial. As long as the species exists, this book will be timely."
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The Collected Poems1956-1998
By Zbigniew Herbert
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Zbigniew Herbert
All right reserved.
No time to grieve for roses, when the forests are burning.
The forests were on fire--
wreathed their necks with their hands
like bouquets of roses
People ran to the shelters--
he said his wife had hair
in whose depths one could hide
Covered by one blanket
they whispered shameless words
the litany of those who love
When it got very bad
they leapt into each other's eyes
and shut them firmly
So firmly they did not feel the flames
when they came up to the eyelashes
To the end they were brave
To the end they were faithful
To the end they were similar
like two drops
stuck at the edge of a face
Excerpted from The Collected Poems by Zbigniew Herbert Copyright © 2007 by Zbigniew Herbert. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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