Farrar. Nov. 2018. 96p. tr. from Polish by Clare Cavanagh. ISBN 9780374106478. $23; ebk. ISBN 9780374715267. POETRY
OrangeReviewStarIn his new collection of poems, Polish poet Zagajewski, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize Lifetime Recognition Award, explores the tension between freedom and captivity in time and space, as well as in relationships. His mother appears frequently, a specter he experiences more palpably in her absence than her presence, and his desire to make language physical recurs throughout the poems: he captures "only scraps of salty words" and witnesses silences that lasts until poets' "throats burst." There are Wordsworthian longings here, yet the poet retains a clear grasp on the real difficulties of childhood ("Now I'm sure that I'd know/ how to be a child"). As a self-proclaimed "tourist in the visible world," Zagajewski guides his readers through everyday fears, yearnings, and repulsions so that ultimately the asymmetries of the title are the things, that until we have to look them straight on, we stop ourselves from seeing.
VERDICT For all poetry readers.
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