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This review is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

FULL OF STRANGE OATHS AND BEARDED LIKE THE PARD Hjalmar Gullberg, Gentleman, Single, Refined, tr. Judith Moffett (Louisiana State University Press) £5.40
Bozhidar Bozhilov, American Pages, tr. Cornelia Bozhilova (Ohio University Press) £6.60 (£4.20-pb)
Lyubomir Levchev, The Mysterious Man, tr. Vladimir Phillipov (Ohio) £6.60 (£4.20-pb)
Artur Lundkvist, Agadir, tr. William Jay Smith and Leif Sjöberg (Ohio) £6.60 (£3.60-pb)
Stephen Berg, With Akhmatova at the Black Gates (University of Illinois Press) £6.60 (£3.00-pb)
Philip Dacey, The Boy Under the Bed (Johns Hopkins University Press) £6.50
Michael Mott, Counting the Grasses (Ahinga Press, Florida State University) $5.00
Ronald Wallace, Plums, Stones, Kisses and Hooks (University of Missouri Press) n.p.
Miller Williams, Distractions (Louisiana) n.p.
G.E. Murray, Repairs (University of Missouri) $8.50
Janet Burroway, Material Goods (Florida State University Press) n.p.
Radcliffe Squires, Gardens of the World (Louisiana) n.p.

American publishers of new poetry almost invariably print a picture of the poet to accompany his or her book, usually on the back cover, sometimes as a frontispiece, or as a detached extra page slipped in among the end-papers. Five of the books under review are translations (or quasi-translations) and we are in the main spared photographs in these cases; the remaining seven all offer photographs-one woman and six men. You read a poem and then turn to the usually staringly ingenuous picture -'Did you write that? Well, well . . .' Something quickly strikes you-the incidence of beards is far higher than in the general population-four of our six have variously hirsute chins. 'What can that mean?' you wonder. I think it means we are keeping company with what Harold Rosenberg called 'the herd of independent minds', a hunch confirmed by most of the poems. Perhaps significantly, the best of the books considered here is by one of the two unbearded bards.

I begin with the translations. The best of these, by a wide margin, is Gentleman, Single, Refined, selected poems of the Swedish writer Hjalmar Gullberg, translated by Judith Moffett. The poems referred to in the title form a comic sequence, distantly modelled on Morgenstern's Palmström poems, describing the life and thoughts of a shy, not very successful academic. They are translated with considerable linguistic panache; the decision to reproduce the poems' rhyme schemes, a risky one for a less skilful translator, pays off in ...


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