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"To lay bare something of the individuality of one poet's voice can be difficult enough. For this book, J.M. Coetzee has translated six 20th-century poets from the Netherlands, rendering all of them with delicate virtuosity. Each poet comes across as having an arresting and distinctive voice, which is then allowed to resonate all the more effectively thanks to the translator's choice of poems of a sequential nature."--Alan Marsahll, Daily Telegraph
"Coetzee's own varied life--as a computer programmer with a doctorate in computer-generated language, as a polyglot 'post-structuralist linguist,' as a world-renowned novelist--rivals that of the most eclectic of the poets he's translated. Way back before the novels that earned him an unprecedented two Booker Prizes, however, he cherished his own hopes of becoming a poet. Clearly, with his faithful translation from the Dutch and his shrewd assessment of this little-known body of literature, Coetzee's earliest ambition is now yielding a surprising late harvest."--Cynthia Haven, San Francisco Chronicle
"Coetzee here demonstrates a sharp ear and deft hand with poems in a variety of voices. . . . [It] is a gift to come upon these translations from six poets definitely worth our attention."--Library Journal
"The book has been lovingly and beautifully produced. . . . I was struck by how much more starkly and conspicuously the effort to grapple with the horrific century just past comes through in the writings of smaller nations. . . . Mr. Coetzee's translations of these cool and astringent poems read well. . . . By relying on slant or partial rhymes, he often succeeds in conveying the music of the originals--no mean feat."--Eric Ormsby, New York Sun
"These poems are whispered in the back pew of some massive cathedral where Stevens and Stein are saying benedictions. But sitting in the back row isn't just an act of humility: back here you can have a little fun at the priest's expense. It is that combination of devout parishioner and irreverent jester that makes these poems breathe."--Dan Chiasson, Poetry
"In Coetzee's artful translations, these poems suggest the power of the half-known."--Robert Pinsky, Washington Post Book World
Excerpted from Landscape with Rowers by J. M. Coetzee Copyright © 2005 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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|Ballad of the Gasfitter||2|
|Ten Ways of Looking at P. B. Shelley||48|
|"The earth; consisting of earthenware"||80|
|"From the vase"||82|
|Descent in Broad Daylight||88|