A Wake for the Living: Poems

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9781555973902: A Wake for the Living: Poems
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Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Simic introduces and translates the poems of Serbian feminist, activist, and writer Radmila Lazic

Dead-born will be your wishes.
Your every hope will be a widow.
And as for love, there won't be enough
To spread on a slice of bread.
--from "Twilight Metaphysics"

Translated and introduced with the surrealist wit that is Charles Simic's signature, A Wake for the Living offers American readers, for the first time in English, the brilliance of Serbian poet Radmila Lazic. Through her compelling and strange leaps and dodges, Lazic describes an identity-personal and political-informed by catastrophe and victimization that restlessly and imaginatively swerves into irreverence and often-comic absurdity. "Goodness is boring," she writes, "It seems it's hell I'm getting myself ready for." These poems careen from the poet's lament for beauty faded to her "Dorothy Parker Blues" to her searching for names among obituaries to her sexual desires without obligation, with the virtuosity that has made her one of Eastern Europe's best and most vivacious contemporary poets.

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About the Author:

Radmila Lazic is a noted Serbian poet, editor, and activist. This is the first English translation of her work.

Charles Simic won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection The World Doesn't End. He teaches writing at the University of New Hampshire.

From Booklist:

This collection of the startling, bold, assertively sexual work of one of Serbia's most prominent poets voices a theme rarely explored in literature, the desires of women in mid-life. Lazic typically relies on imagery from nature to express her explosive passion: "Every flattened rose / Is dearer to me than the erection of buds / Or the whoring bee and flower," she says in "Autumn Ode." But there is nothing romantic or bucolic about her; her language is contemporary, casual, occasionally coarse, as when she calls a younger rival "that ass-wiggling bitch." She isn't interested in marriage, only sex: "I won't share my solitude with anyone. / I came to know the bliss of departure," she says in one poem, then lists her life's pleasures: "A few lines about poetry, / My head next to someone's navel. Yes!" Lazic's stunningly unsentimental poetry will probably be unsettling to some, a welcome breath of truth to others. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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