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This review is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

ANGRY AND ENGAGED AUGUST KLEINZHALER, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep (Faber) £9.99
MICHAEL HAMBURGER, Wild and Wounded (Anvil) £7.95

A veteran of the literary scene, Michael Hamburger has spent much of his life working as an academic in this country and in America. In addition to publishing nearly twenty volumes of poetry, he is responsible for an influential critical work, The Truth of Poetry (1969), and for acclaimed English translations of Paul Celan, Hölderlin, Goethe, Huchel and Rilke. His latest collection, Wild and Wounded , has been published by Anvil to mark the poet's eightieth birthday. It includes shorter poems from the period 2000 to 2003.

Stephen Romer has in the past identified a quality of 'dividedness' as a recurring characteristic of Hamburger's work. By this, Romer means the formal and thematic separation between the poet's cosmopolitan and political outlook, and his devoted attention to the Suffolk countryside. This collection does not disprove the rule, though of course Hamburger's attachment to place need not weaken his credentials as emigrant poet and author to collections like Travelling (1969) and Ownerless Earth (1973). Travel, after all, can enhance our sensitivity to the particulars of location.

But there is perhaps a better way of characterising his dividedness: one could stress the split between Hamburger the contemplative or metaphysical poet, and Hamburger the polemicist. The first mood finds most obvious expression in the collection's title poem. 'Wild and Wounded' comprises six sections, each built on a rich pattern of allusion to animals, flowers and landscape:

Visit or visitation, when in frost
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