Growing Back: Poems, 1972-1992

Growing Back: Poems, 1972-1992

by Rika Lesser
     
 

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Growing Back, Rika Lesser's third collection of poetry, is a bridge that spans the poets and languages, family and friends she has made her life and its work. Written over two decades, many of the poems in this three-part collection predate those found in her acclaimed Etruscan Things and All We Need of Hell. In this latest volume, the well-known translator of Swedish

Overview

Growing Back, Rika Lesser's third collection of poetry, is a bridge that spans the poets and languages, family and friends she has made her life and its work. Written over two decades, many of the poems in this three-part collection predate those found in her acclaimed Etruscan Things and All We Need of Hell. In this latest volume, the well-known translator of Swedish and German poetry offers readers a selection that locates, embodies, and anchors the continuing achievements of her poetic work.

In the first section, "Away," Lesser writes of her long relation to Sweden, her adoptive country. In the second, "The Gifts," she records her return home. The last, "About Men," displays her preoccupation with translation -of literature, of life, of "others" she finds in need of interpretation, whether they are poets like Ekelöf and Rilke, or quite generally members of the opposite sex. Growing Back, like her other collections, reveals Lesser's poetic undertaking to be a rhythmic making of forms, in which language and content kick against the limit of lines that are most often syllabically determined.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most of the poems in this volume were written in the early 1970sas the poet says, "close to half my life ago." In the intervening years, she has largely worked on translations (Rilke, Hesse, Swedish poets Gunnar Ekelof and Goran Sonnevi, and Claes Andersson, Finland's minister of culture); this is the third book of her own poetry (following All We Need of Hell, Univ. of North Texas, 1995). For the reader, her new work begins with some difficulty. The early pages consist of long-lined poems with confusing allusions, sometimes in Swedish (the endnotes help). Yet a wonderfully wild and reckless flow pours through the obscurities, and the power of the poet's experience and emotion is breathtaking. By the middle section of this three-part book, the poems become more consistently accessible. A graceful long poem, "Ein Geliebtes: The Body of the Work," fleshes out Lesser's experiences while translating Rilke, while "Can Zone," ostensibly about food, begins provocatively "What do you mean, you `don't like poetry'?" Ultimately, there are some terrific poems here; recommended accordingly.Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570032332
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/01/1997
Series:
James Dickey Contemporary Poetry Series
Pages:
86
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.25(d)

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