Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (Phoenix Poets)

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9780226244884: Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (Phoenix Poets)
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Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry.

To read David Ferry’s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. The passionate nature and originality of Ferry’s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against—and with—his genius for metrical variation. His vocal phrasing thus becomes an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry. Most poets write inside a very narrow range of experience and feeling, whether in free or metered verse. But Ferry’s use of meter tends to enhance the colloquial nature of his writing, while giving him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it’s like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption.     

Ferry’s translations, meanwhile, are amazingly acclimated English poems. Once his voice takes hold of them they are as bred in the bone as all his other work. And the translations in this book are vitally related to the original poems around them. 

From Bewilderment:

October

The day was hot, and entirely breathless, so
The remarkably quiet remarkably steady leaf fall
Seemed as if it had no cause at all.

The ticking sound of falling leaves was like
The ticking sound of gentle rainfall as
They gently fell on leaves already fallen,

Or as, when as they passed them in their falling,
Now and again it happened that one of them touched
One or another leaf as yet not falling,

Still clinging to the idea of being summer:
As if the leaves that were falling, but not the day,
Had read, and understood, the calendar.

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About the Author:

David Ferry was born in Orange, New Jersey in 1924. He is the author of a number of books of poetry and has translated several works from classical languages. Currently he is the Sophie Chantal Hart Professor Emeritus of English at Wellesley College, as well as a visiting lecturer in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Boston University and a distinguished visiting scholar at Suffolk University.

His book of new and selected poems and translations, Of No Country I Know, published in 1999 by the University of Chicago Press, received the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets and the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress.

In 2011 he was awarded the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. Other awards include the Sixtieth Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, the Teasdale Prize for Poetry, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Ingram Merrill Award, and the William Arrowsmith Translation Prize from AGNI magazine. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998.


He won the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry for Bewilderment.

Review:

2012 National Book Award for Poetry (National Book Foundation)

“These poems highlight an age-old quest for truth that leads the speaker to consider his present and past, and to translate works by Horace, Virgil, Catullus and others. Bewilderment is vivid and sometimes heartbreaking.”
(Washington Post)

“The entire collection, though its constituent poems are reflective lyrics and philosophically and spiritually charged narratives, becomes a series of conversations on matters of the utmost importance, about which bewilderment is understandable.” (Booklist)

“Ferry intertwines Classical translations with original poems, making profound connections between past and present. I’ve always loved Ferry’s translations of Horace’s Odes, and my favorite is in here: the one about the joys and dangers of drink, with ‘the Sithonian drinkers / who think they tell right from wrong by squinting along / The disappearing line libidinous desire / Draws on the wet bartop.’. . . [A]n intense dose of late-life melancholy.”
(Jeremy Denk New Yorker)

"This is one of the great books of poetry of this young century." (Dan Chiasson New Yorker)

 “[A]stonishing—a haunted book where ghosts prove that the haunted are still alive and allow for the continuing company of literature. Ferry interleaves translations, an excerpt from a 30-year-old poem of his own, and poems written by a dead friend, each one paired with Ferry’s response, to compose a book that reminds how real the past was, including its poems, and how urgent (and, yes, bewildering) it remains if remembered well.” (Jonathan Farmer Slate)

“[T]his is an extraordinary book. From poem to poem it reads quietly, intimately, and yet it’s big and ambitious in scope, theme, and execution.” (Raphael Allison Rain Taxi)

“Ferry, best known as the translator of Horace, Virgil, and the Gilgamesh epic, is the master of poems as casually digressive meditations.” (Quarterly Conversation)

“[A] box of treasures by [a] veteran poet.”
(Washington Independent Review of Books)

“There is no American poet writing a more American poetry than David Ferry; and by the measure of Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations, Ferry succeeds again in showing how American poetry belongs to the world. The rigor of his plain style, its absolute and flexible command of the poem’s verbal surface and his cunning feel for dramatic repetition of word and phrase, put him in a first class of American plain stylists such as Stein, Hemingway, Frost, and David Mamet. As do they, Ferry has a gift for the artfully artless expression, an instinct for reaching far and going deep by sounding the lower registers of speech.” (On the Seawall)

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Your Personal God From Horace, Epistles, II. 2. II. 180-89 Jewels, marble, ivory, paintings, beautiful Tuscan meter? Pottery, silver, Gaetulian robes dyed purple - Many there are who d love to have all of these things. There are some who don t care about them in the least. Why one twin brother lives for nothing but pleasure, And loves to fool around even more than Herod Loves his abundant gardens of date-trees, while The other twin brother works from morning to night Improving his farm, ploughing and clearing the lands, Pruning and planting, working his ass off, only The genius knows, the personal god who knows And controls the birth start of every person There is in the world. Your personal god is the god Who dies in a sense when your own breath gives out, And yet lives on, after you die, to be The personal god of somebody other than you; Your personal god, whose countenance changes as He looks at you, smiling sometimes, sometimes not. To read David Ferry s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. This is the passionate nature and originality of Ferry s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. His diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against - and with - his genius for metrical variation, thus becoming an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry and which gives him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it s like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption. Ferry s translations, meanwhile, are vitally related to the original poems around them. Seller Inventory # AAS9780226244884

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Your Personal God From Horace, Epistles, II. 2. II. 180-89 Jewels, marble, ivory, paintings, beautiful Tuscan meter? Pottery, silver, Gaetulian robes dyed purple - Many there are who d love to have all of these things. There are some who don t care about them in the least. Why one twin brother lives for nothing but pleasure, And loves to fool around even more than Herod Loves his abundant gardens of date-trees, while The other twin brother works from morning to night Improving his farm, ploughing and clearing the lands, Pruning and planting, working his ass off, only The genius knows, the personal god who knows And controls the birth start of every person There is in the world. Your personal god is the god Who dies in a sense when your own breath gives out, And yet lives on, after you die, to be The personal god of somebody other than you; Your personal god, whose countenance changes as He looks at you, smiling sometimes, sometimes not. To read David Ferry s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. This is the passionate nature and originality of Ferry s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. His diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against - and with - his genius for metrical variation, thus becoming an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry and which gives him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it s like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption. Ferry s translations, meanwhile, are vitally related to the original poems around them. Seller Inventory # AAS9780226244884

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