Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Canada Hits the Poetic Jackpot: Or, the Globe & Mail Reviews Simic's Snowman

In today's Globe & Mail George Murray reviews Goran Simic's latest collection, and first originally in English: Sunrise in the Eyes of the Snowman. From the review:

The poems seesaw between the intimately personal and the universally political, tipping sometimes line to line, between melancholy love poems and profoundly painful reminiscences of the strife-torn country from which the poet came.

For instance, in the extraordinary poem An Ordinary Man, Simić writes in one stanza:

I’ve met many people and they all resembled me.
Some hid in the breathing bodies that were already corpses,
others hid in corpses in which
an attentive ear can catch a breath.

and then in the next:

Sometimes from the window I notice breadcrumbs
in the hair of women I once loved.
But they are now someone else’s women
and that is someone else’s bread.

It is the oscillation between the universals of love and intimacy in the second excerpt that allows us in the “warless” West access to the same spirit of the poet that endured the hardships of the first. For a poet working for the first time in a second language, it is amazing how adept Simić is. In fact, in the acknowledgments, he describes the English text of Sunrise as language “learned by listening and reading.” If this is the case, then it seems we English-language poets could stand to eavesdrop and read a bit more.

For the whole review please go here.

1 comment:

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