“Awards can be helpful nudges, moving an overlooked writer’s book to the top of a reader’s bedside stack. So it was for us with David Ferry, whose collection Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations received this year’s National Book Award. We understand why the judges chose it. This is a powerful, haunting collection, but subtly so (that’s part of its power). Known for his translations of Gilgamesh, the Odes and Epistles of Horace, and Virgil’s Georgics as well as for his original poetry, here Ferry draws on both his gifts, weaving excerpts of the Aeneid, an Anglo-Saxon version of the offering of Isaac, poems by Cavafy, and other translations with his own poignant work, the pieces speaking to each other, sometimes directly, echoing and amplifying their existential meditations. An unusual and striking section includes and comments on the poems of his deceased colleague Arthur Gold, each melding evocatively with the work in the other sections. Indeed, Bewilderment is a book of multiple voices that, as the pages pass, merge to sing as the human voice. ” —Open Books, Seattle
C’mon, National Poetry Month is over half over! Time for some new poetry pronto, and what fun to shop from a “poem emporium” like Open Books.