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“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

If I Only Knew

by Nelly Sachs

Selected & translated by Jean Boase-Beier

Known as a poet who spoke of the history
and suffering of the Jewish people, Nelly
Sachs was, at the time she was awarded the
Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966, highly
regarded in her native Germany, frequently
being described as a poet of reconciliation and
healing, although whether she was is open to

Because of the complexity of her later
poetry, she is often regarded as a difficult poet,
but her work is not difficult to understand if
it is read against the backdrop of the events
that gave rise to it, and in the context of her
own development as a poet. Jean Boase-Beier’s
striking translations focus on what she sees as
Sachs’ very particular voice, one of outrage,
despair, and grief, but also of enquiry, of irony,
and often of straightforward anger.

This chapbook, by presenting a small
number of poems from throughout the poet’s
main writing years and providing some
general background together with short
contextual explanations to individual poems,
gives new readers a reason to read Nelly Sachs.

ISBN: 9781911469391
Published December 2023

» About Nelly Sachs