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Baskerville Publishers is pleased to announce the release of 8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry of the American Southwest.
Eight poets were selected whose work clearly demonstrates that the contemporary poetry of the southwest moves far beyond the “regional,” dealing with the universal themes of all good poetry, while not losing a sense of place. Tom Sleigh writes of the book, “…these poems are wonderfully idiosyncratic voices as cosmopolitan as they are rooted in what Seamus Heaney once called ‘the music of what happens’… The region that unites them is the republic of memorable speech.”
Dan Williams, Director of the TCU Press, who was the editor of 8 Voices, concludes his introduction, “I have gained much becoming acquainted with the poems included in this volume, and I feel privileged to have read and selected them. I believe anyone who picks up this volume will feel the same.”
Baskerville Publishers’ books have won two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. We published the first book in English on the life of Joseph Brodsky, and brought Australian classical poet Stephen Edgar’s poetry to the attention of discriminating American readers. We are proud to add 8 Voices to this distinguished list.
When a volume of poetry that purported to show the wide range and depth of contemporary Southwestern poetry was proposed, I was happy to participate as editor. Though some poets of the region focus on artifacts and history of the southwest, many do not. It was my task to select 15 poems from each poet out of half a hundred which had been submitted. We wanted a selection which would show the broad range referenced above.
When reading their submissions, I experienced some of those powerful moments Dickinson defined as poetry. I felt deeply moved, even shaken as though the top of my head had been taken off. At times so powerfully moved that I was in two places at one time, both in my comfortable chair, and in a strange, striking place where the poet had transported me. To read this poetry is to be constantly shifted from the ordinary into the extraordinary.
This volume of poetry challenges the common expectations of many readers, as it demonstrates definitively that there is more to Southwestern poetry than wild horses, branding irons, arrowheads, and creaking windmills. I feel privileged to have read and lived with these poems during this process. I have gained much. And I believe that anyone who picks up the volume will feel the same.
Though the poets in this book all hail from the southwest, what you’ll hear in these poems are wonderfully idiosyncratic voices as cosmopolitan as they are rooted in what Seamus Heaney once called “the music of what happens.” The poems are cleanly written, replete with what Robert Frost called “a good look, and a good listen.” The region that unites them is the republic of memorable speech.
— Tom Sleigh, Senior Poet and Distinguished Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY)
These eight distinguished southwestern poets have important things to say, and they say them extraordinarily well. Here are poems about landscapes both familiar and foreign, childhood, young (and old) love, friendship, regret, loss, old age, sickness, and death, as well as about the miracle of poetry itself… poems you will want to read, and reread, savoring them for years to come.
— Michael McGaha, Yale B. and Lucille D. Griffith Professor of Modern Languages (Emeritus), Pomona College
The poets of 8 Voices transform the details encountered in everyday life into playful poetic landscapes that vibrate with a refreshing sense of humor. Playfulness in the juxtaposition of incongruous objects and situations create soundscapes that transfer the familiar into the charm of the unfamiliar and mysterious. These poets recreate the pulse of the earth as they live inside the movements of words.
— Rainer Schulte, Professor of Humanities & Fine Arts, UT Dallas, Director of the Center for Translation Studies, and Editor of Translation Review
6 x 9 hardcover, 146 pages, ISBN: 978-1880909-79-9
Stephen Edgar is well known as a poet in his home country of Australia. He has published seven collections of poetry, for which he has won several prestigious awards, yet he is hardly known outside his country. The commercial difficulty of exporting books of poetry (read: no profit margin) has precluded Americans and Europeans from reading him except in magazine reviews. This book intends to correct that deficit by presenting new poetry and selections from his earlier work, all previously unavailable in the United States or Europe.
Born in Sydney, Stephen Edgar has also lived in London and Tasmania, where he studied Classics and Librarianship before returning to Sydney in 2005. Clive James was so taken with Edgar’s poetry that he flew to Australia to meet him for lunch and their conversation continued into the dusk. It is unusual for a single poem to receive an analytical treatment in a monthly poetry magazine, yet James wrote such an essay in POETRY in January of 2009 on the poem “Man on the Moon” (included in this book). James says at the end of the article, “…his work participates in a new classicism, fit to incorporate in the modern world, in which it deserves a high place. Almost any of his poems will tell us that on a first reading. The second reading tells us why we should try to tell everyone else.”
Baskerville Publishers’ books have won two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. We published the first book in English on the life of Joseph Brodsky, and we are equally proud to bring Stephen Edgar’s poetry to the attention of discriminating American readers (and, hopefully, soon to those across the pond). Please note that we have retained all Australian usages.
Edgar is a consummate craftsman, a new classicist. As Clive James said, “Models of plain speech even at their most eloquent, his poems are more sheerly beautiful from moment to moment than those of any other modern poet I can think of.”
This is magisterial poetry.
“I can’t think of anyone writing poetry in English, at the moment or recently, who renders the natural world with the voluptuous precision of Stephen Edgar. These are poems of elegance and depth.” — August Kleinzahler
“I’d think that Edgar must be on the short list of the best living practitioners of verse, rhymed or blank. His remarkable poems have been a highly rewarding discovery for me.” — Joshua Mehigan
“…he achieves, overall, a supple classicism that earns him a place next to the best twentieth-century American formalists.” — D.H. Tracy
5.5 x 8.5 hardcover, 112 pages, available April 2012 from Baskerville Publishers.
Ludmila Shtern (Leaving Leningrad, Brandeis Univ. Press, 2001) has written the first memoir of the great Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky (Iosif Brodsky). It has been published to acclaim in Russia (now in its third printing), and is now translated into English for the first time. Shtern was a family friend of Brodsky and part of the circle of friends to whom Brodsky read his first poems.
Ludmila Shtern’s home was a gathering place for young Russian artists and poets. Her mother was a famous actress (and poet), her father a respected legal scholar and historian. Joseph Brodsky’s close friends at the time were Yevgeny Rein, Anatoly Naiman and Dmitry Bobyshev (“Akhmatova’s orphans”) and Akhmatova herself was known to the group and figures prominently in Shtern’s narrative of the Russian years. (Rein is today perhaps the preeminent Russian poet.)
Ludmila Shtern’s memoir of Joseph Brodsky can thus be called, without exaggeration, “Russian literary history in the making.” Parallels in European and American literary history, where artists lived together, worked together, encouraged and influenced each other, would be the expatriate community in France after World War One and the “Beats” in New York City, Denver and San Francisco in the 1950s.
Brodsky emigrated ahead of Shtern but their special friendship resumed when she came to the United States. Nothing in Brodsky’s entire poetic output escaped Ludmila’s eye. Brodsky frequently consulted her while his poems were being written. She knows all his poetry by heart.
Much of the original poetry in Ludmila Shtern’s book had not been translated before, and some of it had never been published even in Russian. In addition there are new translations of poems produced by members of Joseph Brodsky’s inner circle. The poetry has been chosen to elucidate personal relationships and social history; much of it is in a comic vein, since all of these writers not only dedicated poems to each other but also needled each other with occasional verse. Sometimes silly, sometimes inspired, it is poetry that deserves to live, nevertheless, and Shtern’s memoir will ensure that it does.
The book is illustrated with pictures of Brodsky and his friends, including Baryshnikov and Rein. Poems that were translated by Brodsky himself haven’t been changed, of course.
Joseph Brodsky was a difficult man. He had many friends and many enemies, but perhaps more than anyone Ludmila Shtern was able, always, to tell him exactly what she thought without jeopardizing her friendship with the poet or diminishing his respect for her judgment. Readers of her book will see why.
“In this charming memoir, Shtern not only brings the famous poet Joseph Brodsky to life, but illuminates for an American audience the experiences of an entire generation of Russian intelligentsia.” – Publishers Weekly, Sept. 2004
“A warm, ebullient memoir, which focuses on her thirty-five years of close friendship with the great poet Joseph Brodsky.” – Francine du Plessix Gray
368 pages with 48 pages of photos, 6 x 9 hardcover
Rilke said, “We should try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.” Moore has followed Rilke’s dictum to the far reaches of love, life, death, and art. If in the search he found no facile answers, he did find beauty and, on occasion, affirmation and joy.
Poems are not statements. But they are a form of thinking – a form akin to music, to mathematics in its higher expressions. Moore’s philosophical training in Heidegger and Nietzsche is evident in these intensely woven and complicated poems. Yet the lyricism that reveals his love of music and poetry is present on every page of Alterity. All the senses are engaged by this finely executed work.
5.5 x 8.5 hardcover, 96 pages
Published by Current Press (Distributed by Baskerville Publishers)
“With richly textured and intricately musical poems, Ron Moore speaks to us, in a voice entirely his own, on a dazzling variety of subjects. Here is a poet worth our full attention and honor.” – George Garrett, Days of our Lives Lie in Fragments
“…startlingly beautiful… [Moore] understands the world to be a flux of atoms in which love and art, if one is very lucky, may sometimes find a place.” – Tito Perdue, “America’s Lost Literary Genius,” New York Press, 2002
A successful career as a health care executive and philanthropist allowed Ron Moore a turn toward a life of adventure, human rights advocacy, and creativity. He has traveled in over 50 countries and climbed on all seven continents. He served on the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International and is on the Partners’ Council of the International Campaign for Tibet. He composed a CD of art songs, Last Light. Alterity is his first book of poetry.