New Directions 44


The forty-fourth number of New Directions in Prose & Poetry, a biannual literary magazine in book form, presents writing from Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. “In the last ten years nothing of interest has been written in France that does not have its precedent somewhere in the text of Jabes,” says the critic Jacques Derrida. Edmond Jabes is known in this country primarily through published translations of Volumes I-III of his poetic narrative The Book of Questions. Appearing here for the first time are excerpts from Yaël, Volume IV. ND44 also features “Vale Ave” by the Imagist poet H.D. Completed in 1957 and never before published in its entirety, this verse sequence traces Adam/Eve, Lucifer/Lilith patterns in a romance reincarnated through the late Roman Empire, dynastic Egypt, legendary Provence, early seventeenth-century England, and modern London. Chilean poet Enrique Lihn offers seven poems, and one of the mainstays of contemporary Brazilian poetry, João Cabral de Melo Neto, is introduced to a North American audience with “A Knife All Blade.” Poems are also contributed by Dennis Lee (Canada) and Leonardo Sinisgalli (Italy), and from the United States comes new poetry by John Allman, Allen Grossman, Michael Hannon, James Purdy, and Gustaf Sobin. Paul West’s “Those Pearls His Eyes, or Pathologies of a Letter Unsent” concerns certain uncanny effects of looking too long directly at a solar eclipse, while the protagonist of New Zealand writer Russell Haley’s story conceives a fascination for “Fog.” Fiction by Melinda Chatain, Michael McGuire, and Julia Thacker is also included, and Aleksis Rannit introduces the six drawings by Victor Hugo reproduced in these pages.

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