PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Colm Toibin on Thom Gunn's Letters Allice Hiller and Sasha Dugdale in conversation David Herman on the life of Edward W. Said Jena Schmitt on Hope Mirrlees Brian Morton: Now the Trees
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 60, Volume 14 Number 4, March - April 1988.

QUIET VOICES Kjell Espmark, Béla Bartók against the Third Reich, translated by Robin Fulton (Oasis/Shearman) £4.95 pb.
Adam Zagajewski, Tremor, translated by Renata Gorczynski (Collins Harvill) £6.95 pb.

Neither Espmark (b. 1930) nor Zagajewski (b. 1945) have appeared in book form in English before, though both are well-known and respected figures abroad. Espmark teaches at Stockholm University and is a member of the Swedish Academy; Zagajewski, a Pole who has lived in Paris since 1981 (his birthplace of Lvov is now in the Soviet Ukraine), spoke at the International PEN congress in January last year. Béla Bartók against the Third Reich comes to us courtesy of the Scottish poet and translator Robin Fulton, and under the modest auspices of the small Oasis imprint. Tremor arrives in the handsome Harvill Poets format, buttressed with powerful recommendations from Joseph Brodsky and Czeslaw Milosz. The quotation from Brodsky offers no explicit lineage for Zagajewski, though it is evident that the émigré Russian sees the émigré Pole as one of those 'quiet voices' (Cyprian Norwid, Cavafy and Montale among them) whom he has always preferred. 'Seldom', writes Brodsky, 'can one overhear so intense an exchange between Euterpe and Clio as in the pages of Tremor'. Ironically, precisely the same could be said of Espmark's poems, which are also written not so much to be heard as to be overhead. It seems apt that Espmark should offer, notably by way of one of Brodsky's cardinal points of reference (in the poem 'I'm still called Osip Mandelstam'), proof that it is perfectly possible to participate intensely in an ongoing debate in a country that has nailed its colours to the mast of neutrality. ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image