Eighty poets and over two dozen languages from around the globe are represented in this deceptively portable volume. Editor J. D. McClatchy has collected work from many of the world's most influential contemporary poets by many of its most remarkable translators.
Many of the authors included have lived in the United States--Bei Dao, Joseph Brodsky, Derek Walcott, and Adam Zagajewski, for example--but authors native to predominantly English-speaking areas (such as North America, Great Britain, and Australia) have been omitted. As Mr. McClatchy writes in his illuminating introduction, "some of the greatest living American, English, and Irish poets are here, to be sure--but only as translators." The pages are wisely reserved for authors whose works are often difficult to find in North America--who come from such various cultures and poetic traditions that one needs no further proof that poetry is an innate form of human expression.
The authors are arranged by continent, with the exception of the Caribbean, which constitutes a separate section. Within the continental sections, authors are grouped by their country of origin and by the language in which they write. Each poet's subdivision begins with a brief introduction containing both biographical information and critical observations.
With such luminaries as Yves Bonnefoy, Tomas Tranströmer, Czeslaw Milosz, Paul Celan, Mahmoud Darwish, Yehuda Amichai, Kofi Awnoor, Chimako Tada, Octavio Paz, and Kamau Brathwaite, readers are sure to find some of their favorite poets among these pages. More importantly, most readers will see many names they have not known but are not likely to forget.
Readers who enjoy this anthology will also enjoy The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, edited by Jeffery Paine. Along with "a world tour" of poems , this anthology includes essays by its section editors, including Joseph Brodsky, Carolyn Forché, Helen Vendler, Agha Shahid Ali, Edward Hirsch, Denise Levertov, and others.