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New Books - 12/02
Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems by Mahmoud Darwish (U.
Mr. Darwish is a sort of Palestinian Pablo Neruda. His
work is passionate, political without dogmatism, and quite achingly lovely.
In the words of Adrienne Rich, Mr. Darwish is "a major world poet," and this
collection, translated by Murin Akash and Carolyn Forché, proves her
contention. Here is one of those exceedingly rare instances where the
intensely individual voice of the poet becomes, as well, as the voice of a
Figures & Figurations by Octavio and Marie José Paz (New Directions,
This beautiful hardcover pairs 12 short poems by Octavio with color
reproductions of collage-constructions by Marie José, his wife of more than
thirty years. The collaboration was intentional; ten of the poems were
written in response to the art pieces, the other two art pieces were made in
response to poems. A short prose piece by Octavio concerning the impact of
friendships with Joseph Cornell and Elizabeth Bishop on Marie José's art is
The Real Moon of Poetry and Other Poems by Tina Brown Celona (Fence, $12)
Ms. Celona's poems fly on a high wit, an original imagination (for those of
you who know, think Laura Jensen), and deep oddity. A quirky, youthful, and
charming voice, to say the least. Ms. Celona won Fence Press's 2002 Alberta
Prize, given for a first book by a woman, and again it seems they have found
someone with current talent and large potential.