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40 review for The Poetry of Survival: Post-War Poets of Central and Eastern Europe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liam Guilar

    The Goodreads star system is inadequate for this one. It introduced me to a list of poets I would never have encountered otherwise. (It's the kind of brilliant anthology that results in far too much time and money being spent at bookfinder.com). There's a fine introduction, and then each of the 28 poets is introduced by a brief biographical note. There's also a section of conversations and essays at the end. How representative is the choice of poems from each poet i'm not fit to judge but none o The Goodreads star system is inadequate for this one. It introduced me to a list of poets I would never have encountered otherwise. (It's the kind of brilliant anthology that results in far too much time and money being spent at bookfinder.com). There's a fine introduction, and then each of the 28 poets is introduced by a brief biographical note. There's also a section of conversations and essays at the end. How representative is the choice of poems from each poet i'm not fit to judge but none of the books I bought as a result were disappointing. (If nothing else it saved my reputation over breakfast in Warsaw when it meant I knew who they were talking about. The world of poetry beyond English is huge. Books like this allow some sense of its range and value. ) What I'd most recommend about this book, despite the horror at its core, is the range of poems. It sounds like it should be unrelentingly grim but it's not. Weissbort's contribution to poetry in translation has been huge, and one of the other characteristics of it is the quality of the translations that he advocates. The poems here read as poems. and that is a victory.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miggy Angel

    Currently absorbed in this book, & the experience is a sobering one. This is an anthology of the work of that generation of European poets whose poetry appeared in the aftermath of the second world war, a conflict which delivered unprecedented destruction to the Central & Eastern Europe these poets hail from. We often speak about poetry as 'witness', & today are apt to read the testimonies of poets who have barely ventured beyond the comfort of their front steps. This book features the work of p Currently absorbed in this book, & the experience is a sobering one. This is an anthology of the work of that generation of European poets whose poetry appeared in the aftermath of the second world war, a conflict which delivered unprecedented destruction to the Central & Eastern Europe these poets hail from. We often speak about poetry as 'witness', & today are apt to read the testimonies of poets who have barely ventured beyond the comfort of their front steps. This book features the work of poets who were actually present, participant, active witnesses, to some of the worst atrocities imaginable. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wonderful poetry, also to those who seek proof or affirmation of the courage & endurance of the will to live; but I would doubly recommend this book to practising poets. Inside the book's front cover, is a quote from the great Polish poet, Tadeusz Rozewicz, who said, "One of the premises & incentives for my poetry is a disgust with poetry. What I revolted against was that it had survived the end of the world, as though nothing had happened." This quote sets the challenge & the tone for the book. When the unimaginable befalls us, what then of poetry? To read the work of those poets who have been confronted with that dilemma, their differing responses to its demand, is an often emotional experience. In the work of each featured writer, it is clear that the practising of poetry was an aid in their survival & continuance. I particularly enjoyed the work of Rozewicz, a stripped down, artifice-free, attempt to return himself, & us, back to the original meanings of words themselves. I found his poem, 'In The Midst Of Life,' heartbreaking. In this poem, it's as if he is renaming, reclaiming, revalidating, reacquainting, reabsorbing, the world, its values & its particulars, himself included, after 'the end of the world'. Part of the poem goes, "this is a table I said/this is a table/there is bread & a knife on the table/knife serves to cut bread/people are nourished by bread". In comfortable times, the comfortable forget what is at stake. This book can serve as a reminder. The statement that 'poetry persists as if nothing had happened' can still be leveled at poetry today. The challenge to the writer of contemporary poetry is that it should continue to justify its existence. To speak of the knife on the table, its function to cut the bread, & for the people who must be nourished. (Just as a coda to this review, I must say that if you are a Vasko Popa fan, YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK. Has a great selection of his work, but, more rarely, the appendix contains an essay from the man himself. I know of no other of his personal testimonies on his own poetics in print, & it is absolutely beautiful. A rare & precious gem.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kris Kipling

    THE NEED FOR CENSORSHIP by Reiner Kunze Everything can be retouched except the negative inside us. ................................................... The finest compilation of poetry I have ever come across. 20th century titans - Milosz, Brecht, Celan - along with less household figures (though precisely what strange household would one expect to find any of these odd, jangled east European names?): Holan, Huchel, Kocbek, Sachs (an unknown despite the Nobel Prize), Swir, Bobrowski, Rozewicz, Popa, Cas THE NEED FOR CENSORSHIP by Reiner Kunze Everything can be retouched except the negative inside us. ................................................... The finest compilation of poetry I have ever come across. 20th century titans - Milosz, Brecht, Celan - along with less household figures (though precisely what strange household would one expect to find any of these odd, jangled east European names?): Holan, Huchel, Kocbek, Sachs (an unknown despite the Nobel Prize), Swir, Bobrowski, Rozewicz, Popa, Cassian, Enzensberger, Ficowski, Karpowicz, Miedzyrzecki, Holub, Bachmann, Amichai, Szymborska (also a Nobel winner), Mihalic, Nemes Nagy, Pagis, Pilinszky, Zach, and Kunze. Weissbort's introduction is thoughtful and his selections almost across the board first-rate; there are also appended short prose pieces and interviews. A wealth of brilliant poetry, called by translator Michael Hoffman the best collection of poetry to have appeared in the last thirty years, I have dipped into this time and time again in the ten since I bought it. Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the miracle of how art can flourish under the heel of tyrannical regimes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mejix

    In the early 90's this book introduced me to Amichai, Celan, Herbert, Milosz, Popa, and Szymborska. Great selection. Or in internet-speak "incredibly, amazing, unbelievably iconic selection."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mii

    This book is a great read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Blakesley

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eiffel Gao

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

  9. 4 out of 5

    evan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike Cipra

  13. 4 out of 5

    Badger

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julian

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Wonfor

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dung

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Wren

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ching-In

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Sims

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dean Echenberg

  22. 5 out of 5

    abcdefg

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Johan Otto

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brandyn Bell

  28. 5 out of 5

    Travelin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michele Evans

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mark Allen Jenkins

  31. 5 out of 5

    Laila

  32. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  33. 5 out of 5

    Genta

  34. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  35. 4 out of 5

    Raúl

  36. 4 out of 5

    tia

  37. 4 out of 5

    IE

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  39. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  40. 4 out of 5

    AT

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