New Directions 22
The contents, lively and varied as always, of this year’s New Directions Annual, the twenty-second in the series which began in 1936, range from the topical, in an impressive new poem by Ferlinghetti on The Enigma of Ho Chi Minh’s Funeral, to one of the important source texts of the modern literary movement, a translation by David Harris of Gottfried Benn’s “play of ideas,” The Voice behind the Curtain. Once again, the Annual is international: Stephen Stepanchev has translated a group of poems by the Yugoslavian poet Vasko Popa; Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumura present the Japanese poet Ryuichi Tamura; Dennis Silk (Israel) blends parody and fantasy in the prose “journey,” Montefiore; there is a scene from the play Sunday They’ll Make Me a Saint by the Greek-American writer Demetrius Toteras; and from Britain we have Stuart Montgomery’s verse sequence, Circe, a section of photographs of the concrete poetry of Ian Hamilton Finlay (Scotland) and a group of drawings by the poet Charles Tomlinson. Three of the young American poets in ND22 are active in the Black movement: Ed Roberson, Quincy Troupe and Al Young. Richard Meyers is a promising discovery, and we welcome Robert Lowry again with a fine poem. Of exceptional interest this year are the stories of Paul Breslow, Carol Emshwiller, Paul Friedman, James B. Hall and Mark Jay Mirsky.