Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic has done more than anyone since Czeslaw Milosz to introduce English-language readers to the greatest modern Slavic poets. In Oranges and Snow, Simic continues this work with his translations of one of today's finest Serbian poets, Milan Djordjevic. An encounter between two poets and two languages, this bilingual edition--the first selection of Djordjevic's work to appear in English--features Simic's translations and the Serbian originals on facing pages. Simic, a native Serbian speaker, has selected some forty-five of Djordjevic's best poems and provides an introduction in which he discusses the poet's work, as well as the challenges of translation.
Djordjevic, who was born in Belgrade in 1954, is a poet who gives equal weight to imagination and reality. This book ranges across his entire career to date. His earliest poems can deal with something as commonplace as a bulb of garlic, a potato, or an overcoat fallen on the floor. Later poems, often dreamlike and surreal, recount his travels in Germany, France, and England. His recent poems are more autobiographical and realistic and reflect a personal tragedy. Confined to his house after being hit and nearly killed by a car while crossing a Belgrade street in 2007, the poet writes of his humble surroundings, the cats that come to his door, the birds he sees through his window, and the copies of one of his own books that he once burnt to keep warm.
Whatever their subject, Djordjevic's poems are beautiful, original, and always lyrical.
"Every now and then, words, quite often in the form of poetry, have the power, the persuasion, and the all-penetrative ability to stop one in ones' tracks. . . . Such is the possibility, the sheer scale of the penetrative persuasion amid some of these poems."--David Marx, David Marx Book Reviews
"Charles Simic has been translating so many stimulating poets from the former Yugoslav republics for so long that I snatch up any new version by him as soon as it appears."--John Taylor, Antioch Review
"Charles Simic's superbly able, balanced translations of the Serbian poet Milan Djordjevic are a double-revelation. Here stands Djordjevic, a new poet--dark, antic, and mournful--for English-language readers. And here, at the same time, is Simic, a familiar but ever more esteemed presence--mournful, antic, dark--standing in a bewitchingly altered light."--Nicholas Jenkins, Stanford University
"Charles Simic has translated the work of the major Serbian poet Milan Djordjevic into wonderful poems in English. From the opening poem we know we are in the hands of a master: Djordjevic keeps the stakes high as the poems fan out from the daily to the political and metaphysical. Image, tone, and metaphor combine to create an imaginatively striking voice. This is a distinguished translation by a distinguished poet."--Ira Sadoff, author of Barter: Poems
"I've read a lot of contemporary poetry in translation, but I have never read a poet quite like Milan Djordjevic. The poems Charles Simic translates here display a strange, engaging, and darkly playful imagination."--Jonathan Aaron, author of Journey to the Lost City: Poems
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