Birds for a Demolition
The Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros has reinvented the Orphic task of the poet in these short, surreal, incandescent lyrics that stick close to the natural world, that make a pact with stones and birds, that celebrate "the Grandeurs of the Lowly." Idra Novey has done us a genuine service by bringing into English these late modern poems that "memorialize the poor things of the ground" and sing the world.-Edward Hirsch
Birds for a Demolition serves up a generous helping of poetry by the irresistible Manoel de Barros, an aphoristic prankster dedicated to "striving for vegetable wisdom." His is a world in which "a frog swigs the sunrise" and death "weeds its way" into a prison cell. "A poem is an un-utensil," he declaresùbut there is much more than simple high jinks beneath his idiosyncratic ways of seeing and saying. And Idra Novey brilliantly recreates both the spirit and substance of these poems, in language as bold and buoyant as the original.-Ellen DorT Watson
Idra Novey's first collection of poems, The Next Country, was published in 2008. A book of her translations of poet Paulo Henriques Britto, The Clean Shirt of It, received a PEN Translation Fund Award and was published in 2007. She teaches in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where she is the director of Columbia's Center for Literary Translation.
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