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 The collection opens with the last poem by Octavio Paz, a major work previously unpublished in book form, and then tracks through the writings of foreign and American poets that New Directions has published in recent years.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.