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Louis de Bernieres
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Translated by David Colmer
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (112 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2013)
Politics as a Profession, Says Max Weber
Poems are useless for governing the world,
First This, Then That
First silence, then explanation;
Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to write a poem about that?
‘A poem must say something that is true, in the same way that a scientific article makes true assertions. And, similarly, these assertions must not be trivial, they should appeal to the emotions of the reader.’
– Nachoem M. Wijnberg in an interview
This selection introduces a major poet who is also a business studies professor, a combination which may explain his vigorous questioning of human values in poetry which asks ‘What is worthwhile?’ His poems are characterized by simplicity and clarity, narrative and reasoning: he claims they ‘at least promise to be about the important things in everyone’s life.’
Nachoem M. Wijnberg has said of his collection The Life Of (strongly represented in this selection) that ‘many of the poems have a surface layer with a narrative structure and in the ones that don’t, there’s a structure in the form of a line of reasoning. Of course, some connections are made by association (name a poem that doesn’t do that), but in these poems those links are completely subordinate to the stories and reasoning. There’s no “post-modern” cut and paste and alienation is the last thing I’m trying to achieve – the world is strange enough as it is and my poems aim to help in dealing with that strangeness by bringing it closer and, as far as that’s possible, understanding it.’
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