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One remains in silent amazement: How does he find these stories? How does he know everything?

Die Zeit

Eliot Weinberger

American essayist and translator

Eliot Weinberger is an essayist, political commentator, translator, and editor. His books of avant-gardist literary essays include Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing (named by the Village Voice as one of the "20 Best Books of the Year") and, most recently, Oranges & Peanuts for Sale. His political articles are collected in What I Heard About Iraq—called by the Guardian the one antiwar "classic" of the Iraq war—and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles. The author of a study of Chinese poetry translation, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, he is the translator of the poetry of Bei Dao, and the editor of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry and the Calligrams series published by NYRB Classics. His other anthologies include World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions and American Poetry Since 1950: Innovators & Outsiders. Among his translations of Latin American poetry and prose are the Collected Poems 1957–1987 of Octavio Paz, Vicente Huidbro's Altazor, and Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions, which received the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism. He was born in New York City, where he still lives. Often presented as a "post-national" writer, his work has been translated into thirty languages, and appears frequently in the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and periodicals and newspapers abroad.


The Ghosts of Birds

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


The Ghosts of Birds offers thirty-five essays by Eliot Weinberger: the first section of the book continues his linked serial-essay An Elemental Thing, which pulls the reader into “a vortex for the entire universe” (Boston Review). Here, Weinberger chronicles a nineteenth-century journey down the Colorado River, records the dreams of people named Chang, and shares other factually verifiable discoveries that seem too fabulous to possibly be true. The second section collects Weinberger’s essays on a wide range of subjects—some of which have been published in the New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books—including his notorious review of George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, and writings about Khubilai Khan, the I Ching, different versions of the Buddha, American Indophilia (“There is a line, however jagged, from pseudo-Hinduism to Malcolm X”), Herbert Read, and Charles Reznikoff. This collection proves once again that Weinberger is “one of the bravest and sharpest minds in the United States” (Javier Marías).



Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


The difficulty (and necessity) of translation is concisely described in Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, a close reading of different translations of a single poem from the Tang Dynasty—from a transliteration to Kenneth Rexroth’s loose interpretation. As Octavio Paz writes in the afterword, “Eliot Weinberger’s commentary on the successive translations of Wang Wei’s little poem illustrates, with succinct clarity, not only the evolution of the art of translation in the modern period but at the same time the changes in poetic sensibility.”



Two American Scenes

Poetry by Lydia Davis and Eliot Weinberger


Two remarkable prose stylists — friends since high school — transform found material from the nineteenth century into mesmerizing poem-essays.

It was given to me, in the nineteenth century, to spend a lifetime on his
earth. Along with a few of the sorrows that are appointed unto men,
I have had innumerable enjoyments; and the world has been to me,
even from childhood, a great museum.
— Lydia Davis

Bad rapids. Bradley is knocked over the side; his foot catches under
the seat and he is dragged, head under water. Camped on a sand
beach, the wind blows a hurricane. Sand piles over us like a snowdrift.
— Eliot Weinberger



Oranges & Peanuts For Sale

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


Many of the twenty-eight essays in Oranges & Peanuts for Sale have appeared in translation in seventeen countries; some have never been published in English before. They include introductions for books of avant-garde poets; collaborations with visual artists, and articles for publications such as The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, and October. One section focuses on writers and literary works: strange tales from classical and modern China; the Psalms in translation: a skeptical look at E. B. White’s New York. Another section is a continuation of Weinberger’s celebrated political articles collected in What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles (a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award), including a sequel to “What I Heard About Iraq,” which the Guardian called the only antiwar “classic” of the Iraq war. A new installment of his magnificent linked “serial essay,” An Elemental Thing, takes us on a journey down the Yangtze River during the Sung Dynasty. The reader will also find the unlikely convergences between Samuel Beckett and Octavio Paz, photography and anthropology, and, of course, oranges and peanuts, as well as an encomium for Obama, a manifesto on translation, a brief appearance by Shiva, and reflections on the color blue, death, exoticism, Susan Sontag, and the arts and war. Presented at the PEN World Voices Festival as a “post-national” writer, Eliot Weinberger is “a sparkling essayist” (Confrontation), and his writings “a boundary-crossing, shape-shifting cabinet of curiosities” (The Bloomsbury Review).



An Elemental Thing

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


Internationally acclaimed as one of the most innovative writers today, Eliot Weinberger has taken the essay into unexplored territories on the borders of poetry and narrative where the only rule, according to the author, is that all the information must be verifiable. With An Elemental Thing, Weinberger turns from his celebrated political chronicles to the timelessness of the subjects of his literary essays. With the wisdom of a literary archaeologist-astronomer-anthropologist-zookeeper, he leads us through histories, fables, and meditations about the ten thousand things in the universe: the wind and the rhinoceros, Catholic saints and people named Chang, the Mandaeans on the Iran-Iraq border and the Kaluli in the mountains of New Guinea. Among the thirty-five essays included are a poetic biography of the prophet Muhammad, which was praised by the London Times for its "great beauty and grace," and "The Stars," a reverie on what’s up there that has already been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Maori.



What Happened Here

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


Written for publication in magazines abroad, translated into sixteen languages, and collected here for the first time, Eliot Weinberger’s chronicles of the Bush era range from first-person journalism to political analysis to a kind of documentary prose poetry. The book begins with the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001—and an eerie prediction of the invasion of Iraq—and picks up on September 12, with an account of downtown Manhattan, where Weinberger lives, on the "day after." With wit and anger, and sometimes startling prescience, What Happened Here takes us through the first term of the "Bush junta": the deep history of the neoconservative "sleeper cell," the invention of the War on Terror, the real wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the often bizarre behavior of the Republican Party. For twenty-five years, Eliot Weinberger has been taking the essay form into unexplored territory. In What Happened Here, truth proves stranger than poetry.



Karmic Traces

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


For the past twenty years, Eliot Weinberger has been taking the essay far beyond the borders of literary criticism or personal journalism and into the realm of poetry and narrative. Full of stories, yet written in a condensed, imagistic language, his essays are works of the imagination where all the facts are verifiable. As entertaining as fiction and as vivid as poems, making unexpected stops in odd corners of the globe or forgotten moments in human history, erudite, politically engaged, and acerbically witty, there is nothing quite like his work in contemporary writing. In Karmic Traces, his third collection with New Directions, twenty-four essays take the reader along on the author’s personal travels from the Atacama Desert to Iceland to Hong Kong on the verge of the hand-over to China, as well as on imagined voyages on a 17th-century Danish ship bound for India and among strange religious cults or even stranger small animals. One never knows what will appear next: Viking dreams, Aztec rituals, Hindu memory, laughing fish, or prophetic dogs. And in "The Falls," the long tour-de-force that closes the book, Weinberger recapitulates 3,000 years of history in a cascade of telling facts to uncovering the deep roots of contemporary racism and violence.


Available: November 01 2000


Outside Stories

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


Unpredictable and uncanonical, Eliot Weinberger’s essays are the “outside stories" of cultural migrations. The fifteen pieces collected here range from the history of the Salman Rushdie affair to the dream of Atlantis, from the turf wars among ethnographic filmmakers to the unlikely romance between poetry and espionage, from the pilgrims in Plymouth to the students in Tiananmen Square. Above all, Weinberger’s concern is poetry––whether written in medieval Baghdad or by Mexicans in Japan––and the perennially underground yet global network through which it travels. With his modernist sensibility and internationalist perspective, Weinberger’s inventive prose transports old myths and texts to the strange realities of contemporary life.


Available: October 01 1992


Works On Paper

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


During the past several years, Eliot Weinberger’s inventive prose has earned him a reputation as a candid social observer and penetrating essayist. Works on Paper is the first collection of his writings, twenty-one pieces that juxtapose the world as it is and the world as it is imagined-by artists, poets, historical figures, and ordinary people. "Inventions of Asia,” the first section, deals primarily with how the West reinvents the East (and how the East invents itself): images of India circa 1492 (where Columbus thought he was going); Christian missionaries in sixteenth-century China; Bombay prostitutes as seen by a New York photojournalist; Tibetan theocracy transplanted to the Rockies; a Confucian bureaucrat’s address to crocodiles; the shifting iconography of the “tyger"; looking for an answer to an ancient Chinese poem of questions; how the children of Mao have reinvented Imagism; Kampuchea Under Pol Pot. "Extensions of Poetry" explores the ways in which the world affects the imaginations of individual poets (George Oppen, Langston Hughes, Charles Reznikoff, Octavio Paz, Clayton Eshleman) and indeed entire movements, leading at times to unexpected incarnations and transformations. Weinberger ponders such strange conjunctions as Whittaker Chambers and Objectivism, anti-Semitism among American Modernists, bourgeois poets––present-day wards of the academy and the state––confronting the issues of peace, American foreign policy, and The Bomb.


Available: November 01 1986


The Poems of Octavio Paz

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger

The Poems of Octavio Paz is the first retrospective collection of Paz's poetry to span his entire writing career, from his first published poem, at age seventeen, to his magnificent last poem. This landmark bilingual edition contains many poems that have never been translated into English before, plus new translations based on Paz's final revisions. Assiduously edited by Eliot Weinberger—who has been translating Paz for over forty years—The Poems of Octavio Paz also includes additional translations by the poet-luminaries Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Muriel Rukeyser, and Charles Tomlinson. Readers will also find Weinberger's capsule biography of Paz, as well as illuminating notes on many poems in Paz's own words taken from various interviews he gave throughout his long and singular life.



The Rose Of Time

Poetry by Bei Dao

translated by David Hinton, Bonnie S. MacDougall and Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems presents a glowing selection of poetry by contemporary China's most celebrated poet, Bei Dao. From his earliest work, Bei Dao developed a wholly original poetic language composed of mysterious and arresting images tuned to a distinctive musical key—a music that has continued to develop in innovative ways through five collections of poetry published by New Directions. Selections from each of these books are included here, as well as a section of new, never-before-published work. This bilingual edition opens with a prefatory note by the poet recalling his past life as a concrete mixer and blacksmith, and closes with a brief biographical note by the editor, Eliot Weinberger. Bei Dao is a seminal poet who has been translated into some thirty languages, and his public admirers have included such international writers as Mahmoud Darwish, Susan Sontag, and Tomas Tranströmer.


in the mirror there is always this moment
this moment leads to the door of rebirth
the door opens to the sea
the rose of time

—Bei Dao



Seven Nights

Nonfiction by Jorge Luis Borges

translated by Eliot Weinberger

Borges, among his many glittering literary facets, was a world-renowned speaker. Seven Nights collects seven lectures that were taped during the summer of 1977 in Buenos Aires. These were later pirated as records, only to be reclaimed by Borges who edited them for publication as a series in a Buenos Aires newspaper. In Seven Nights, Borges utilizes each subject as a vessel through which an outrageous claim gradually makes clairvoyant sense. The “Divine Comedy” is a true story; “Nightmares” are beautiful; “The Thousand and One Nights” will never be fully read; “Buddhism” defies understanding; “Poetry” exists only to remind us of perfection; “The Kabbalah” proves the existence of God in man; and “Blindness” is a gift. Behind Borges’ playful wit lies an impressive erudition amassed, despite failing eyesight and eventual blindness, over a lifetime of study. “For Borges,” Reid continues, “literary experiences are just as visceral as ones experienced in reality. When he talks about books and writers, it is like talking about landscapes and journeys, so vivid has his reading been to him.” As William Gibson remarked, Borges “stretched basic paradigms as effortlessly, it seemed, as another gentleman might tip his hat and wink."



Figures & Figurations

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger

Figures and Figurations, one of the last works completed by the great late Mexican poet Octavio Paz before his death in 1998, is a stunning collaborative project with his wife, the acclaimed artist Marie Jose Paz. In response to ten of her collage-constructions, he wrote ten new short poems; she in turn created two new artworks in response to two of his earlier poems. "These objects sometimes surprise us," Paz writes, "and sometimes make us dream or laugh (humor is one of the poles of her work). Signs that invite us on a motionless voyage of fantasy, bridges to the indefinitely small or galactic distances, windows that open nowhere. Marie Jose’s art is a dialog between here and there."



Selected Poems of Octavio Paz

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

Octavio Paz, asserts Eliot Weinberger in his introduction to these Selected Poems, is among the last of the modernists "who drew their own maps of the world." For Latin America’s foremost living poet, his native Mexico has been the center of a global mandala, a cultural configuration that, in his life and work, he has traced to its furthest reaches: to Spain, as a young Marxist during the Civil War; to San Francisco and New York in the early 1940s; to Paris, as a surrealist, in the postwar years; to India and Japan in 1952, and to the East again as his country’s ambassador to India from 1962 to 1968; and to various universities in the United States throughout the 1970s. A great synthesizer, the rich diversity of Paz’s thought is shown here in all its astonishing complexity. Among the sixty-seven selections in this volume, a gathering in English of his most essential poems drawn from nearly fifty years’ work, are Muriel Rukeyser’s now classic version of "Sun Stone" and new translations by editor Weinberger of “Blanco" and "Maithuna." And since for Paz, forever in motion, there can be no such thing as a "definitive text," all the poems have been revised to conform to the poet’s most recent changes in the original Spanish. Besides those by Rukeyser and Weinberger, the translations in the Selected Poems are by G. Aroul, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Lysander Kemp, Denise Levertov, Mark Strand, Charles Tomlinson, William Carlos Williams, and Monique Fong Wust.


Available: January 01 2001


Unlock

Poetry by Bei Dao

translated by Eliot Weinberger

Bei Dao, the internationally acclaimed Chinese poet, has been the poetic conscience of the dissident movements in his country for over twenty years. He has been in exile since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Unlock presents forty-nine recent poems written in the United States, and may well be Bei Dao’s most powerful work to date. Complex, full of startling and sometimes surreal imagery, sudden transitions, and oblique political references, and often embedding bits of bureaucratic speech and unexpected slang, his poetry has been compared to that of Paul Celan and César Vallejo––poets who invented a new poetry and a new language in the attempt to speak of the enormity of their times. The sixth book of Bei Dao’s work published by New Directions, Unlock has been translated by Eliot Weinberger, the distinguished essayist and critically acclaimed translator of Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges, in collaboration with the historian lona Man-Cheong and the poet himself.


Available: September 01 2000


A Tale Of Two Gardens

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A Tale of Two Gardens collects the poetry from over 40 years of Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz’s many and various commitments to India––as Mexican ambassador, student of Indian philosophy, and above all, as poet. Despite having written many acclaimed non-fiction books on the region, he has always considered those writings to be footnotes to the poems. From the long work "Mutra," written in 1952 and accompanied here by a new commentary by the author, to the celebrated poems of East Slope, and his recent adaptations from the classical Sanskrit, Paz scripts his India with a mixture of deft sensualism and hands-on politics. "No other Western poet has been as immersed in India as Paz," writes Eliot Weinberger in his introduction. "More incredibly, perhaps not since Victor Segalen... has a Western poet been so expert on, experienced in, and written so extensively about, a cultural other. Our literary news of the world, for no reason, tends to come from novelists." A Tale of Two Gardens presents a beautiful, complex, and utterly unclassifiable India, one only a poet such as Octavio Paz could know.


Available: April 01 1997


Sunstone

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

Nobel laureate Octavio Paz’s premier long poem Sunstone/Piedra de Sol is here printed as a separate volume, with beautiful illustrations from an eighteenth-century treatise on the Mexican calendar. Presented in Eliot Weinberger’s excellent new translation with the Spanish texts en face, this is the 1957 poem "that definitively established Paz as a major international figure" (Sagetrieb). Written as a single cyclical sentence (at the end of the poem the first six lines are written again), Sunstone is a tour de force of momentum. It takes as its structural basis the circular Aztec calendar, which measured the synodic period of the planet Venus (584 days––the number of lines of Sunstone). But, as The New Republic noted, "this esoteric correlative design... does not circumscribe its subject. [It is] a lyrically discursive exploration of time and memory, of erotic love, of art and writing."


Available: October 01 1991


Collected Poems 1957-1987

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger

Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz is incontestably Latin America’s foremost living poet. The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz is a landmark bilingual gathering of all the poetry he has published in book form since 1957, the year of his premier long poem, Sunstone (Piedra de Sol)––here translated anew by Eliot Weinberger––made its appearance. This is followed by the complete texts of Days and Occasions (Días Hábiles), Homage and Desecrations (Homenaje y Profanaciones), Salamander (Salamandra), Solo for Two Voices (Solo a Dos Voces), East Slope (Ladera Este), Toward the Beginning (Hacia el Comienzo), Blanco, Topoems (Topoemas), Return (Vuelta), A Draft of Shadows (Pasado en Claro), Airborn (Hijos del Aire), and Paz’s most recent collection, A Tree Within (Arbol Adentro).


Available: April 01 1991


A Tree Within

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger

A Tree Within (Arbol Adentro), the first collection of new poems by the great Mexican author Octavio Paz since his Return (Vuelta) of 1975, was originally published as the final section of The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987. Among these later poems is a series of works dedicated to such artists as Miró, Balthus, Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Tapies, Alechinsky, Monet, and Matta, as well as a number of epigrammatic and Chinese-like lyrics. Two remarkable long poems ––"I Speak of the City," a Whitmanesque apocalyptic evocation of the contemporary urban nightmare, and "Letter of Testimony," a meditation on love and death––are emblematic of the mature poet in a prophetic voice.


Available: November 01 1988


A Draft Of Shadows

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A Draft of Shadows and Other Poems is the most recent collection of the work of Mexico’s leading poet and essayist, Octavio Paz. The first section of poems, from Ladera este (East Slope, 1969), reflects some of Paz’s experiences as his country’s ambassador to India (1962-68). Following stays in England, France, and the United States, he returned to Mexico in 1971, reacting to the urban sprawl and violence of Mexico City with the four long poems of disaster and rage that, together with shorter poems more familiar in tone, make up Vuelta ("Return," 1976). A long meditation on the poet’s childhood and adolescence, Pasado en claro ("A Draft of Shadows," 1975) forms the third section of this volume and represents a further departure from the self-contained surreal images many associate with Paz. This bilingual selection concludes with a sampling of his most recent lyrics, and the promise of further experimentation. Paz, winner in 1981 of both the Neustadt Prize and the Cervantes Award, stated in a recent interview: "When I am writing a poem, it is to make something, an object or organism that will be whole and living, something that will have a life independent of me," and throughout this book the poet’s abiding concern for language as a living force is revealed. For Paz, poetry is a way of reinventing the self, and appropriately, the reflective. "A Draft of Shadows" concludes: "I am the shadow my words cast."


Available: February 01 1980


Eagle Or Sun?

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

The first major book of short prose poetry in Spanish, Eagle or Sun? (Aguila o Sol?) exerted an enormous influence on modern Latin American writing. Written in 1949-50 by Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, Eagle or Sun? has as its mythopoeic "place" Mexico––a country caught up in its pre-Columbian past, the world of modern imperialism, and an apocalyptic future foretold by the Aztec calendar. Indeed, three personae of the book--the goddess Itzapaplotl, the prophet clerk, the poet––are manifestations of the threefold aspects of the land. Paz himself explains: "Eagle or Sun? is an exploration of Mexico, yes, but at the same time, and above all, it is an exploration of the relations between language and the poet, reality and language, the poet and history."


Available: November 01 1976


The Rose Of Time

Poetry by Bei Dao

translated by David Hinton, Bonnie S. MacDougall and Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems presents a glowing selection of poetry by contemporary China's most celebrated poet, Bei Dao. From his earliest work, Bei Dao developed a wholly original poetic language composed of mysterious and arresting images tuned to a distinctive musical key—a music that has continued to develop in innovative ways through five collections of poetry published by New Directions. Selections from each of these books are included here, as well as a section of new, never-before-published work. This bilingual edition opens with a prefatory note by the poet recalling his past life as a concrete mixer and blacksmith, and closes with a brief biographical note by the editor, Eliot Weinberger. Bei Dao is a seminal poet who has been translated into some thirty languages, and his public admirers have included such international writers as Mahmoud Darwish, Susan Sontag, and Tomas Tranströmer.


in the mirror there is always this moment
this moment leads to the door of rebirth
the door opens to the sea
the rose of time

—Bei Dao



Written On The Sky

Poetry by Kenneth Rexroth

Edited by Eliot Weinberger

Over the years, thousands of readers have discovered the beauty of classic Japanese poetry through the superb English versions by the great American poet Kenneth Rexroth. Mostly haiku, these poems range from the classical and medieval to modern poetry, with an emphasis on folk songs and love lyrics. Because women played such an outstanding role in Japanese literature, included here are selections from their work, including the contemporary, deeply sensuous Marichiko. This elegant, beautifully designed gift book of poems spanning many centuries presents the original texts in romanji, the transliteration into the Western alphabet.



Songs Of Love, Moon & Wind

Poetry by Kenneth Rexroth

Edited by Eliot Weinberger

This exquisite gift book offers a wide sampling of Chinese verse, from the first century to our own time, beginning with the lyric poetry of Tu Fu, moving to the folk songs of the Six Dynasties Period, on to the Sung Dynasty, and to the present. Also represented are some of the best-known women of Chinese poetry, including Li Ching-chao and Chu Shu-chen. These simple, accessible but profound poems come through to us with a breathtaking immediacy in Kenneth Rexroth’s English versions — a wonderful gift for any lover of poetry.



World Beat

Poetry by

Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A mosaic of twenty-eight foreign and American poets, World Beat: International Poetry Now is an extraordinary compilation, unlike any other anthology, of the poetry being written today. For some seventy years, New Directions Publishing has brought literary America the world, introducing many of the world’s most important, and at the time usually unknown, writers. Today, with a diminishing earth and an increasingly isolated United States, dialogue among the nations is desperately needed. On the poetic front, this dialogue assumes a particular potency and urgency. In World Beat, expertly edited by the remarkable writer and translator Eliot Weinberger, a new generation of New Directions poets from across the globe mingles in a euphonic cross-cultural chorus. The collection opens with the last poem by Octavio Paz, a major work previously unpublished in book form, and then tracks through the writings of foreign and American poets that New Directions has published in recent years. From the haunting erotic lyrics of the young Albanian poet Luljeta Lleshanaku, to the powerful political insights of exiled Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail, Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, and Caribbean poet Kamau Brathwaite, to the lapidary beauty of Dutch poet Hans Faverey and the wild experiments of Chinese poet Gu Cheng and Japanese poet Kazuko Shiraishi, to Nobel Prize shortlisters Bei Dao of China, Inger Christensen of Denmark, Gennady Aygi of Chuvashia, and Tomas Tranströmer of Sweden—here is a planetary greatest hits that also includes work by Canadian Anne Carson and a range of American poets (Susan Howe, Michael Palmer, Robert Creeley among them), whose works take on new resonances when read alongside their world-peers.



The New Directions Anthology Of Classical Chinese Poetry

Poetry by

translated by David Hinton, Kenneth Rexroth, Ezra Pound, Gary Snyder and William Carlos Williams
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A rich compendium of translations, The New Directions Anthology of Chinese Poetry is the first collection to look at Chinese poetry through its enormous influence on American poetry. Beginning with Ezra Pound’s Cathay (1915), the anthology includes translations by three other major U.S. poets––William Carlos Williams, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder––and an important poet-translator-scholar, David Hinton, all of whom have long been associated with New Directions. It is one of the first general anthologies ever to consider the process of translation by presenting different versions of the same poem by multiple translators, as well as examples of the translators rewriting themselves. A playful and instructive study into the art and tradition of Chinese poetry, this anthology gathers some 250 poems by nearly 40 poets, from the anonymous early poetry through the great masters of the T’ang and Sung dynasties. It also includes previously uncollected translations by Pound; a selection of essays on Chinese poetry by all five translators, some never published before in book form; Lu Chi’s famous "Rhymeprose on Literature," translated by the eminent scholar Achilles Fang; biographical notes that are a collage of poems and comments by both the American translators and the Chinese poets themselves; as well as Eliot Weinberger’s excellent introduction that historically contextualizes the influence Chinese poetry has had on the work of American poets.



Selected Poems of Octavio Paz

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

Octavio Paz, asserts Eliot Weinberger in his introduction to these Selected Poems, is among the last of the modernists "who drew their own maps of the world." For Latin America’s foremost living poet, his native Mexico has been the center of a global mandala, a cultural configuration that, in his life and work, he has traced to its furthest reaches: to Spain, as a young Marxist during the Civil War; to San Francisco and New York in the early 1940s; to Paris, as a surrealist, in the postwar years; to India and Japan in 1952, and to the East again as his country’s ambassador to India from 1962 to 1968; and to various universities in the United States throughout the 1970s. A great synthesizer, the rich diversity of Paz’s thought is shown here in all its astonishing complexity. Among the sixty-seven selections in this volume, a gathering in English of his most essential poems drawn from nearly fifty years’ work, are Muriel Rukeyser’s now classic version of "Sun Stone" and new translations by editor Weinberger of “Blanco" and "Maithuna." And since for Paz, forever in motion, there can be no such thing as a "definitive text," all the poems have been revised to conform to the poet’s most recent changes in the original Spanish. Besides those by Rukeyser and Weinberger, the translations in the Selected Poems are by G. Aroul, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Lysander Kemp, Denise Levertov, Mark Strand, Charles Tomlinson, William Carlos Williams, and Monique Fong Wust.


Available: January 01 2001


A Tale Of Two Gardens

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A Tale of Two Gardens collects the poetry from over 40 years of Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz’s many and various commitments to India––as Mexican ambassador, student of Indian philosophy, and above all, as poet. Despite having written many acclaimed non-fiction books on the region, he has always considered those writings to be footnotes to the poems. From the long work "Mutra," written in 1952 and accompanied here by a new commentary by the author, to the celebrated poems of East Slope, and his recent adaptations from the classical Sanskrit, Paz scripts his India with a mixture of deft sensualism and hands-on politics. "No other Western poet has been as immersed in India as Paz," writes Eliot Weinberger in his introduction. "More incredibly, perhaps not since Victor Segalen... has a Western poet been so expert on, experienced in, and written so extensively about, a cultural other. Our literary news of the world, for no reason, tends to come from novelists." A Tale of Two Gardens presents a beautiful, complex, and utterly unclassifiable India, one only a poet such as Octavio Paz could know.


Available: April 01 1997


Sunstone

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

Nobel laureate Octavio Paz’s premier long poem Sunstone/Piedra de Sol is here printed as a separate volume, with beautiful illustrations from an eighteenth-century treatise on the Mexican calendar. Presented in Eliot Weinberger’s excellent new translation with the Spanish texts en face, this is the 1957 poem "that definitively established Paz as a major international figure" (Sagetrieb). Written as a single cyclical sentence (at the end of the poem the first six lines are written again), Sunstone is a tour de force of momentum. It takes as its structural basis the circular Aztec calendar, which measured the synodic period of the planet Venus (584 days––the number of lines of Sunstone). But, as The New Republic noted, "this esoteric correlative design... does not circumscribe its subject. [It is] a lyrically discursive exploration of time and memory, of erotic love, of art and writing."


Available: October 01 1991


A Draft Of Shadows

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A Draft of Shadows and Other Poems is the most recent collection of the work of Mexico’s leading poet and essayist, Octavio Paz. The first section of poems, from Ladera este (East Slope, 1969), reflects some of Paz’s experiences as his country’s ambassador to India (1962-68). Following stays in England, France, and the United States, he returned to Mexico in 1971, reacting to the urban sprawl and violence of Mexico City with the four long poems of disaster and rage that, together with shorter poems more familiar in tone, make up Vuelta ("Return," 1976). A long meditation on the poet’s childhood and adolescence, Pasado en claro ("A Draft of Shadows," 1975) forms the third section of this volume and represents a further departure from the self-contained surreal images many associate with Paz. This bilingual selection concludes with a sampling of his most recent lyrics, and the promise of further experimentation. Paz, winner in 1981 of both the Neustadt Prize and the Cervantes Award, stated in a recent interview: "When I am writing a poem, it is to make something, an object or organism that will be whole and living, something that will have a life independent of me," and throughout this book the poet’s abiding concern for language as a living force is revealed. For Paz, poetry is a way of reinventing the self, and appropriately, the reflective. "A Draft of Shadows" concludes: "I am the shadow my words cast."


Available: February 01 1980


Eagle Or Sun?

Poetry by Octavio Paz

translated by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

The first major book of short prose poetry in Spanish, Eagle or Sun? (Aguila o Sol?) exerted an enormous influence on modern Latin American writing. Written in 1949-50 by Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, Eagle or Sun? has as its mythopoeic "place" Mexico––a country caught up in its pre-Columbian past, the world of modern imperialism, and an apocalyptic future foretold by the Aztec calendar. Indeed, three personae of the book--the goddess Itzapaplotl, the prophet clerk, the poet––are manifestations of the threefold aspects of the land. Paz himself explains: "Eagle or Sun? is an exploration of Mexico, yes, but at the same time, and above all, it is an exploration of the relations between language and the poet, reality and language, the poet and history."


Available: November 01 1976


The Green Child

Fiction by Herbert Read

translated by Adam Phillips
with a contribution by Eliot Weinberger and Kenneth Rexroth

The Green Child is the only novel by Herbert Read — the famous English poet, anarchist, and literary critic. First published by New Directions in 1948, it remains a singular work of bewildering imagination and radiance. The author
considered it a philosophical fable akin to Plato’s cave. 

Olivero, the former dictator of a South American country, has returned to his native England after faking his own assassination. On a walk he sees, through a cottage window, a green-skinned young girl tied to a chair. He watches in horror as a man forces the girl to drink lamb’s blood from a cup. Olivero rescues the child, and she leads him into unknown realms.



New Collected Poems of George Oppen

Poetry by George Oppen

Edited by Eliot Weinberger
with a contribution by Michael Davidson and Eliot Weinberger

George Oppen’s New Collected Poems gathers in one volume all of the poet’s books published in his lifetime (1908–84), as well as his previously uncollected poems and a selection of his unpublished work. Oppen, whose writing was championed by Ezra Pound when it was first published by The Objectivist Press in the 1930s, has become one of America’s most admired poets. In 1969 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his collection Of Being Numerous, which The New Yorker recently said is “unmatched by any book of American poetry since.” The New Collected Poems is edited by Michael Davidson of the University of California at San Diego, who also writes an introduction about the poet’s life and work and supplies generous notes that will give interested readers an understanding of the background of the individual books as well as keys to references in the poems. The award-winning essayist and translator Eliot Weinberger offers a personal remembrance of the poet in his preface, “Oppen Then.” This newly revised paperback edition also includes a generous CD of the poet reading from each of his poetry collections.



My Emily Dickinson

Nonfiction by Susan Howe

with a contribution by Eliot Weinberger

With exacting rigor and wit, Howe pulls Dickinson free of all the sterile and stuffy belle-of-Amherst cotton wool and shows the poet in touch with elemental forces of nature, and as a prophet in all her radical zealotry and poetic glory. Her Emily Dickinson is a unique American genius, a demon lover of poetry––no neurasthenic spider artist. Howe draws into her discussion Browning, Wuthering Heights, the Civil War, "Master," the great Puritan preachers, captivity narratives, Shakespeare, and phantom lovers. As she chases away narrow and reductive feminist readings of the poet, Howe finds instead a radically powerful and true feminism at work in Dickinson, focusing the whole on that heart-stopping poem "My Life had stood––a Loaded Gun." A remarkable and passionate poet-on-poet engagement, My Emily Dickinson frees a great poet from the fetters of being read as a special female neurotic, and sets her against a fiery open sky where "Perception of an object means loosing and losing it... only Mutability certain."



Against The Forgetting

Poetry by Hans Faverey

translated by Francis R. Jones
with a contribution by Eliot Weinberger

Against the Forgetting presents the work of the Netherlands’ most eminent twentieth-century poet, Hans Faverey. This collection brings together poems from his eight published volumes spanning the years 1968 to 1990 as well as a selection of poems from a posthumous collection, Spring Foxes, first published in Holland in 2000. Filled with a precision and arresting musicality comparable to the hermetic poems of Celan and Bronk, and as mysterious as the writings of Heraclitus and the German mystic Meister Eckhart, Faverey’s poems, like Lichtenberg’s lightning frozen in time, lash out, splintering systems and syntax––enlightening.