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Lemon Sun

Ziba Karbassi

Lemon Sun

Exiled Iranian poet Ziba Karbassi has garnered a reputation outside of her home country as one of the foremost contemporary Persian poets. Her poetry tackles difficult themes with a mastery of craft and has received wide critical attention. Touching on issues ranging from the loss of one's home to the horrors of an execution by stoning, this selection of her poetry illustrates how Karbassi weaves together an array viscerally explosive emotions through a sustained virtuosic use of language and rhythm.

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The Atlas of Lost Beliefs

Ranjit Hoskote

The Atlas of Lost Beliefs

Commenting on Hoskote's poetry on the Poetry International website, the poet and editor Arundhathi Subramaniam observes: "His writing has revealed a consistent and exceptional brilliance in its treatment of image. Hoskote's metaphors are finely wrought, luminous and sensuous, combining an artisanal virtuosity with passion, turning each poem into a many-angled, multifaced experience."

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Fate's Little Pictures

Larissa Miller

Fate's Little Pictures

Fate's Little Pictures is the latest bilingual poetry pamphlet by Larissa Miller, published by Arc Publications.

Larissa Miller (b. 1940) is a major Russian poet and essayist, a member of the Union of Russian Writers since 1979, and of Russian PEN since 1992.

Author of 23 books of poetry and prose, she was short-listed for the State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Art in 1999, and in 2013 was awarded the Arseny and Andrei Tarkovsky Prize.

Her autobiographical novel Dim and Distant Days was published in English translation by Glas in 2000, and a volume of selected poems entitled Guests of Eternity was published by Arc in a bilingual edition in 2008. A further bilingual poetry pamphlet, Regarding the Next Big Occasion, was published by Arc in 2015.

Larissa Miller is also a teacher of English, and of a musical gymnastics system for women named after its creator, the Russian dancer Lyudmilla Alexeeva.

She is married, with two sons, and lives in Moscow with her husband Boris Altshuler, a physicist and human rights advocate.

  • Paperback £6.00 £5.40 available

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Beautiful Things

Menno Wigman

Beautiful Things

The Dutch poet, anthologist and translator Menno Wigman died in 2018 at just fifty-one, several years after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition likely caused by an allergic reaction suffered in his adolescence.

This memorial pamphlet is intended as a tribute to the poet and as a companion to Window-cleaner Sees Paintings, my selection of Wigman's poetry published by Arc in 2016.

While still young, Wigman had made a conscious decision to dedicate himself to literature. Later, in poems like 'Misunderstanding' and 'Rien ne va plus' he described poetry as "a sickness that afflicts a coterie of fools" and a blight that estranges the poet from everything around, leaving them skulking inside a poem until they've "seen some dismal beauty"... There is a certain incongruity to his expressing this negativity in beautiful, moving poems, subsuming it within his work as a whole, but the flood of obituaries and appreciations and renewed attention for his life and work have made it very clear just how much the two were of a piece.

Although the future development of a poetic reputation is impossible to predict, the interest in and appreciation of Wigman's work have only grown since his death, with the publication of a very well-received Collected Poems and the commissioning of a biography by the Dutch novelist Rob van Essen. For now, at least, Menno Wigman's position as one of the most loved and admired of modern Dutch poets seems more secure than ever.

David Colmer

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Skald - Sword & Sea-Cloud

Ian Crockatt

Skald - Sword & Sea-Cloud

The poet Ian Crockatt has published two superb translations of Viking poetry with Arc- Crimsoning the Eagle's Claw: the Viking Poems of Rognvaldr Kali Kolsson, Earl of Orkney and The Song Weigher: the Complete Poems of Egill Skallagrimsson, Tenth Century Viking & Skald - and in this chapbook he uses the same highly-wrought form developed by the Skalds (the professional poets employed by the kings and earls of the Viking courts of the 9th to 13th centuries) to tell a quasi-Viking tale set in the landscapes and seascapes once under Viking control - the West Coast of Scotland where he used to live, and the north-east corner of Scotland where he now lives.

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Bigger than the Facts

Jan Baeke

Bigger than the Facts

Jan Baeke, the award-winning Dutch poet, has, in Bigger Than The Facts (Groter dan de feiten, 2007), created an intriguing filmic world in which tensions are rife and nothing is quite as it seems. It is a world whose elements keep recurring, coalescing little by little into dreamlike leitmotifs - a bus journey, a hotel room, dogs, cigarettes, fire, a blind man, a canary, a man and a woman in love. And love, however fragile it may be, is a major theme of this collection, for "where there's fire, there's warmth for two".
Antoinette Fawcett's poetically sensitive translation gives a clear sense of Baeke's style and poetic drive, and enables the English-speaking reader to explore in full this key collection in Baeke's œuvre.

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Eternal Traffic

Mila Haugová

Eternal Traffic

Mila Haugová has written a moving book about the farewell of loved ones and the slipping away of one's own life. The starting point is a double loss: her mother dies and her lover goes his own way. During her dead mother's childhood and distant past, the loved ones have faced a hoped-for future. Now only a reduced daily life remains, shot through with ever present memories. Haugová overlays the departed, and now recalculated, images of childhood and days spent with her lover. Is it possible to find some memory of lost warmth in this cold world?

Re-encounter and farewells are one in Haugová's poetry: there are intimate companions in the absence of loved ones, in the acceptance of their disappearance, which over time develop a cathartic force that makes possible new love.

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Sometimes a Single Leaf

Esther Dischereit

Sometimes a Single Leaf

Whether in poetry, fiction, radio drama or sound installations, Esther Dischereit's work represents a unique departure in recent European writing: a distinctive, off-beat syntax of German-Jewish intimacy with the fractured consciousness and deeply rutted cultural landscape of today's Germany. Sometimes a Single Leaf, mirroring the development of Esther Dischereit's poetry across three decades, includes selections from three of her books as well as a sampling of more recent, uncollected poems. It is her first book of poetry in English translation.

From these splinters, flowers bloom:
where the dead lie, trees grow and
we must walk among them. In these poems,
Esther Dischereit, whose mother was one
of the few who survived the Holocaust
in hiding within Nazi Germany,
lays the present over the past with
piercing effect. This is a necessary statement
of life by an important writer; and
Iain Galbraith's excellent translation will bring
all the vital, strange wisdom it contains
to a new audience. We could not need
this book more than we do now.

Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young / Wir, die wir jung sind

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Maps of Desire

Manuel Forcano

Maps of Desire

Manuel Forcano, the outstanding Catalan poet, is a great traveller, and the poems in this, his first full-length book in English translation, embrace the cities, the landscapes and the people of the Middle East. Drawn from his four most recent collections, these poems use geographical and historical references to deepen and inform the narrative, and also to lay before the reader the idea of the continuity, over many centuries, of human love and desire. The beauty, joy, grief and tenderness in these poems are universal and belong to every kind of human affection - indeed Forcano has been described by the Catalan journalist and academic Pere Ballart as 'our foremost love poet'.

Anna Crowe's beautiful translations demonstrate a remarkable understanding of, and sensitivity to, Forcano's poetry, so much so that one might say that Maps of Desire represents the perfect union of poet and translator.

In Maps of Desire, Manuel Forcano deals with gay desire with a whirlwind-like freshness and a passionate imagination that does at times remind me a little of Cavafy with a gale behind him, some of the poems being written in Cavafy's own city, Alexandria. Forcano is a many-sided scholar but he is primarily an outstanding lyric poet, beautifully rendered into English by Anna Crowe. The book begins with two sections of 'The Bagdad Train', a sweeping journey in pursuit of desire. This is a fragment of a shorter poem, 'Checkmate':

..I got drunk just seeing you,
and playing chess was an excuse
for watching your fingers
moving the pieces of your army
towards me. How sweet
it can sometimes turn out to be,
being defeated: on the board
your castle knocking over
my king.
Many nights
you lined up your pawns
to face me.

George Szirtes

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A Friable Earth

Jackie Wills

A Friable Earth

Jackie Wills brings a multitude of characters to these poems including a young man sleeping in his car, an amateur entomologist, bird catchers, her jilted aunt, Ray Dorset, the three Robins, the office cleaner, family, friends and several gardeners. Her poems move from the GP surgery to eye clinic, dance studio to allotment, back and forward in time and from Brighton's streets to the landscapes of South Africa. In this collection, a woman caught unawares by a changing body and attitudes as she ages strains to see the funny side of her last smear. But there are also many elegies and tributes to old friends in A Friable Earth, Wills' sixth collection of poems. Her work has been described as irreverent, bewitching, compassionate and surreal. She's written extensively about women's lives. She's also worked an allotment for 20 years.

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