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This review is taken from PN Review 202, Volume 38 Number 2, November - December 2011.

A Real Book The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Susan Harris (Ecco Press) £12.99

Published with a view to its use by high school and college students in North America, this anthology has the broader aim of attempting to widen the general audience for poetry in translation. Essentially a chronology of international poetry in the twentieth century, it presents a range of voices from around the globe, from canonical modernists such as Attila Joszef and César Vallejo, to poets of the post-war, post-colonial period (Joseph Brodsky, Ko Un, Anna Kamienska, Léopold Sédar Senghor) and includes the work of younger, more contemporary poets whose work is likely to be less well-known, if known at all, to an English-speaking audience. On the evidence of this book, Anglophone readers and poets would do well to acquaint themselves with an exceptional range of poetry that has been made available in English, in some cases for the first time, by these gifted translations. The wit and virtuosity evident on every page raise the book to the level of a modern anthological classic. Miriam Van Hee, Valzhyna Mort, Guillermo Saavedra, Marcin Swietlicki, Zhang Er and Patrizia Cavalli are just some of the poets who were new to this reader and whose work he has immediately sought out elsewhere. Of course, good anthologies do not exist without a large degree of editorial flair and shrewdness, and Ilya Kaminsky and Susan Harris are to be commended as much for their skill in selection as for their consistency and commitment. In his introduction Kaminsky cites Auden's 'a real book is one that ...


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