Featured review from MPT

Review by Justin Hill

Chronicles of a Lordlordland
The Jade Ladder, edited by W. N. Herbert and Yang Lian,
with Brian Holton and Qin Xiaoyu, Bloodaxe, 2012

Chairman Mao was a poet of some distinction, apparently: his collections still sell, and friends tell me they’re really very good. But despite his poetic talents, Mao doesn’t make it into The Jade Ladder, the new colle...

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By Byron Leodaris

Translated by Thom Nairn & D. Zervanou

Dionysia Press, 2009, £9.50, 978-1-903171-33-2

Twenty untitled poems divided between "Outside", a group of twelve and "Beyond", the remaining eight. Leodaris's narrator, "an old poet persecuted for his verses", who perceives himself as "branded", undertakes a relentlessly anguished, self-lacerating examination of the roots of his alienation, his sense of the futility of life and of the world. Unsurprisingly, given his view that "poems happen" and that "the words I utter cut my tongue", he desires "to be done with the trickery of writing and reading". "If only", he exclaims at one point, "I could confront my extreme limits / and be totally crushed here". Quite.

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Spring 2014

Spring 2014

No 4 / 2014

MPT (Modern Poetry in Translation) appears three times a year – in Spring, Summer and Autumn. The issues are no longer th... » Read more » Submit to MPT

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