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The Swing in the Middle of Chaos - Selected Poems

By Sylva Fischerová

Translated by Sylva Fischerová and Stuart Friebert

Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-85224-859-8

Sent by Karen McCarthy Woolf

 Greetings from an upright world where all our uncertainties are turned inside out by a poet who writes like ‘a telescope crossed with a kaleidoscope’. All sorts of characters reside here: there’s a woman from the ‘Underworld City’ who ‘breeds little rodents in her ear’ for the ‘amusement of the rich’. God exists, and so does the Worm who believes in him; but then there’s another worm... Language, Time, Death and the Devil live next door to Lazarus and Nietzsche; they all play chess in the town square, but the pieces have been reconfigured. Wish you were here, although you probably already are… Karen X

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The Seventh Gesture

By Elenkova Tsvetanka

Translated by Jonathan Dunne

Shearsman Books 89pp, paperback, ISBN 978-1-84861-084-2, £8.95

Sent by Saradha Soobrayen

Reading The Seventh Gesture is a cinematic experience. From a close shot to a long shot, a wider action takes place in each of these breathless prose poems, extending beyond the now into the residues of time, the throb of each moment is palpable as well its demise:

‘They find dead victims like this, with legs outstretched and arms to the side. Children sleep like this in their sweetest dreams. Like  this, hung on a hook against you, I writhe at your every touch.’

(‘Day Four – Leonardo’s Cross’)

The reader is asked to temporarily suspend any form of knowingness and surrender disbelief, giving over to Elenkova’s imagistic sensibility, which twists and unfolds with full confidence in its linguistic responsibilities and pulsating actions.

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In the Forest of Faded Wisdom – 104 poems

By Gendun Chopal

Translated by Donald S Lopez Jr

University of Chicago Press

Sent by Maitreyabandhu

You travel in this forest with the son of a Tibetan tantric priest who entered monastic life at the age of twelve, who became renowned as a controversial debater and poet, and who later renounced his monastic vows and travelled, destitute and often alone, across India and Sri Lanka. After twelve years abroad, he returned to Tibet and was arrested on fabricated charges, questioned and flogged. His two years’ imprisonment broke him, and he descended into alcoholism. The greatest Tibetan poet of the twentieth century died in 1951, leaving devotional poems to the Buddha, furious poems about monks ‘selling meat, beer, and tobacco’, and laments at the brevity of life.

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