“Borges” and Other Sonnets

William Baer

$14.95

This collection of hard-edged, contemporary sonnets takes an uncompromising look at the current times, and our human failings and foibles.

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Description

This collection of hard-edged, contemporary sonnets takes an uncompromising look at the current times, and our human failings and foibles. Although markedly contemporary in its subjects, Borges” and Other Sonnets presents keen awareness of the past and its unrelenting relationship with the present. The collection includes translations from two legendary sonneteers: Portuguese warrior-poet, Luís de Camões (1524–1580), and twentieth-century Argentine, J. L. Borges (1899–1986). Baer’s sonnet translations are widely praised for capturing the subtleties and soaring spirits of the originals.

 “Borges” and Other Sonnets will come to be identified as one of the spearhead books of the new literary movement being fostered by the American sonnet. William Baer’s keen sense of history and popular culture gives his vernacular style an authority that excites as it interests.

—Felix Stefanile

William Baer’s new poetry collection is the most significant book of sonnets since Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Fatal Interview more than 70 years ago. And the comparison is apt: like Millay before him, Baer has resuscitated the tradition of the disciplined sonnet in a time of free verse assertion—and he has done so by voicing serious cultural themes and subjects within the strictures of the form. Like other affecting modern sonnets (Hardy’s “Hap,” Yeats’s “Leda,” Frost’s “Design,” and Nemerov’s “Two Girls”), Baer’s poems place us in focused, consequential moments and force us to ponder eternal truths. The various and unforgettable poems in “Borges” and Other Sonnets should read as the logical continuum of those earlier masterpieces of the form.

—Samuel Maio

 

Contents

I.
Borges
Quarantine
Silhouette
Double
Theresa
Nonstop Flight
Paramour
Balcony
Translating Camões

II. From Luís de Camões
Curse
Tagus
Dear Gentle Soul
Exile
Refuge

III.
Snowflake
Scream
Secret Police
Footnote
Erratum
Epilogue
Thief
Cove
Explanation
Firebrand
Monster

IV. Sermons (to Myself)
Adam
Job
Light
Centurion
Eclipse

V.
The Poem
Prevarication
Corpus
Pumpkin
Zodiac
Crime Scene
Conspiracy
Confession
Rattler
Krudenbar
Judgment

VI. From Jorge Luis Borges
The Odyssey, Book Twenty-three
The Borges
To Luís de Camões
The Sea
Allusion to the Death of Colonel Francisco Borges (1835–1874)

VII.
Swimming Pool
Deathbed
Lecture
Hitchhiker
Vanishing
The Letter
Cherry
Last Will
Labyrinth

Authors

William Baer grew up in the Bronx and Wayne, New Jersey. His first collection of poetry, The Unfortunates, received the T. S. Eliot Prize. His work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Chariton Review, New Criterion, Southern Review, Hudson Review, and American Scholar. He is the founding editor of The Formalist, the poetry editor for Crisis, and the director of the Richard Wilbur Poetry Series. His other books are Conversations with Derek Walcott and Elia Kazan: Interviews.

Visit William's website. 

Reviews

William Baer now steps forward into the first rank of contemporary American poets. He has gradually become well known among other poets and some critics, and has been widely published in literary magazines; but this new volume, which is lucid and eminently accessible, amounts to a virtuoso performance with the sonnet form, and possesses coherence while treating very important themes.

National Review

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