Title: Unattainable Earth
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: 1986
Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 1986. Farrar Straus Giroux. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. Translated from the Polish by The Author & Robert Hass. 141 pages. hardcover. 0880010983. keywords: Literature Translated Poland Poetry Eastern Europe. inventory # 98. FROM THE PUBLISHER - In his first collection of new poems since receiving the Nobel prize for Literature in 1980, Czeslaw Milosz, with a playfulness and passionate restlessness of mind that are entirely characteristic, has changed the very idea of what a book of poetry can be. In Unattainable Earth, verse, prose poems, prose jottings, pensees, quotations, translations and even fragments from personal letters have been gathered into the shape of a writer’s notebook, where they form a sustained meditation on sexuality, language, the problems of belief, the life of the streets of cities and the mysterious annihilating power of time. And beneath all these motifs there is, finally, a single subject - the powerful desire to confront the ecstatic experience of life on earth. This is evident not only in Mr. Milosz’s own poems, but in the companion poems of Walt Whitman and D. H. Lawrence he was translating into Polish, which appear here returned to their original English renewed by their rather surprising interplay with a contemporary text. The structure of UNATTAINABLE EARTH makes it possible for us to experience, with unusual intimacy, the play of this central obsession as the poet’s spirit and intellect move among and strain against his themes. In this movement, the book perhaps resembles the poetic diaries of the Japanese, with their free sense of border crossings between poetry and prose - although Mr. Milosz’s sense of historical irony and passion to understand are entirely European. ‘The core of the major themes of Milosz’s poetry,’ Joseph Brodsky has said, ‘is the unbearable realization that a human being is unable to grasp his experience.’ In Unattainable Earth, there is a deepening of this theme, and as it is pursued the poet comes to certain understandings: if human experience is ungraspable, then the moments of tenderness between people, disappearing as they occur, are all the more precious and mysterious. This book, for all its range and sobriety and formal inventiveness and lyricism, seems, finally, to be a book of love poems, an elegy for and meditation on the earthly paradise. Bookseller Inventory # 98
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