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Essays on Departure: New and Selected Poems 1980-2005

Marilyn Hacker

Essays on Departure by Marilyn Hacker
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Categories: 21st Century, LGBTQ+, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (188 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2006)
£12.95 £11.65
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Essays on Departure is a gathering of 25 years' work by one of the most elegant and pertinent poets working in English, work from eight books, including a generous excerpt from the electrically erotic verse novel Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons, and new work written in the shadow of hegemonic empire. Often unabashedly narrative, at once witty and elegiac, this is a poetry in open dialogue with its sources, as close at hand or as surprising as Donne , Akhmatova, the American poet Muriel Rukeyser, Joseph Roth or the Algerian Kateb Yacine. In the past decade, this exchange has been informed by Hacker's widely-published translations of contemporary French poets, and for the first time a selection of this work is included with her own poems. Marilyn Hacker's poetry has been - and will be - acclaimed for its keen observations of the poet's two cities, New York and Paris, its fusion of precise form and demotic language, its music, its memory, its confrontations with mortality and its stubborn delectation of life.
    Marilyn Hacker is the author of fourteen books of poems, including Blazons (Carcanet 2019), A Stranger’s Mirror (Norton, 2015) and Names (Norton, 2010), and an essay collection, Unauthorized Voices ( Michigan, 2010). Her sixteen translations of French and Francophone poets include Vénus Khoury-Ghata’s A Handful of Blue Earth (Liverpool, 2017) and ... read more
    Awards won by Marilyn Hacker Commended, 2019 Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
     'Marilyn Hacker's text is masterly and authoritative, in the same way as is Auden's, Rich's, Fenton's and the best of Brodsky's... she convinces us of the authenticity of a world as it exists in language, through mastery, delight, desire, passion and wit. The wit is sexual and rakish, the passion humane and dense, the delight is in the mastery that is both formal yet acrobatically flexible and free-spirited, often breathtaking.'
    George Szirtes, The Guardian
    Praise for Marilyn Hacker 'Translated forms give rise to the morphic quality of Hacker's language, whilst still maintaining the truth of her subject.'
    Elizabeth Ridout, Agenda
    'The literal translation of images and sources from French, Francophone and Arabic poets serves Hacker's elegant fusion of the contemporary, the colloquial and the precise, spare form, to create new communication of the experiences of the refugee and the bilingual, the world citizen.'
    Elizabeth Ridout, Agenda
    'Witness Blazons filled with poems using form and formal devices with apparent ease and joy. Her discipline is also reflected in language and syntax that are rich and syncopated....While Hacker's mastery of form and language continue to delight, her discipline as a translator, as a poet equally committed to other poets and with political implications, also inspires.... If poetry is a practice, a discipline, Hacker is one of the greatest masters and Blazons is one of her achievements from her practice and discipline.'

    Julie R Enszer, The Rumpus

     'This unadorned empathy and Hacker's formal accomplishment establish an imprint on the page; an imprint which is never heavy or cloying but beds the poems on the page, makes them sit with solidity and a kind of inevitability. Hacker is a poet for whom the trajectory of the poem is patiently, but intensely controlled.'

    Ian Pople, The Manchester Review

    'There is no poet writing in English with a better claim for the Nobel Prize in Literature than Marilyn Hacker. Indeed, I view Blazons: New and Selected Poems, 2000-2018 as a brief for that case.'
    A.M. Juster, L.A. Review of Books
    'Very fine poetry... her translations were lovely'
    Leah Fritz, Acumen
    'The ghazal form is tailor made for Hacker's poetic gifts: poignant wit,precision handled with dash, aplomb, and a raised eyebrow, the dance on the fine line between too little and too much'
    Annie Finch, New Letters
    'Her forms are invariably generous, inviting the reader in as a participant which entrains our emotions like a melody... Marilyn Hacker has style'
    Norbert Hirschhorn, London Grip
    'She has rendered these forms supple, natural, and substantial and has filled them with energy both intellectual and emotional... her poems are works of heroic reportage from the front delivered in a crisp hard bitten New York colloquial style that is counterpoise to the architecture of the form.'
    George Szirtles, The Poetry Review, Summer 2019
     'It is difficult to think of a poet writing today who could surpass Marilyn Hacker's combined formal, sonic and linguistic dexterity... Hacker's poems reach with both hands towards an intimacy of place, language, knowledge and more. Even towards the lyric self, where there is sometimes a wry sensibility, there is also very often an acknowledgement of an in-betweenness. Relating perhaps to Hacker's own life as a Jewish American now living in Paris - the poet-traveller raises her shield, forms her report, hoists the herald, all of these in English and French types of blazons, in order to correspond with her reader, another, the self.'
    Sandeep Parmar, PBS Spring Bulletin 2019
     'Combining toughness with tenderness, uniting the personal with the political, using traditional forms for new and urgent purposes, reaching out to others and otherness, taking the poem into divided and often terrifying circumstances, Hacker's Blazons confirms just how uncompromising, lucid and lyrical her poetry is.'
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