The Book of Things
PoemsBook - 2010
Winner of The 2011 Best Translated Book of the Year Award
Winner of The 2011 Award for Best Literary Translation into English from the AATSEL
From his first book of poems, Chessboards of Hours (1995), Ales Steger has been one of Slovenia's most promising poets. The philosophical and lyrical sophistication of his poems, along with his work as a leading book editor and festival organizer, quickly spread Steger's reputation beyond the borders of Slovenia. The Book of Things is Steger's most widely praised book of poetry and his first American collection. The book consists of fifty poems that look at "things" (i.e. aspirin, chair, cork) which are transformed by Steger's unique poetic alchemy.
Translator Brian Henry is a distinguished poet, translator, editor, and critic.
From Publisher's Weekly:
Steger's efforts sometimes bring to mind such Western European figures as Francis Ponge and Craig Raine, who also sought to make household things look new and strange. Yet Steger brings a melancholy Central European sense of history- his objects tend to remember, or cause, great pain: "It pours, this poisonous, sweet force," Steger writes of "Saliva," "Between teeth, when you spit your own little genocide." (Nov.)
From Guernica, a Magazine of Art and Politics:
It is a rare treat to have an English translation before the ink has dried on the original. By which I mean, a mere five years after the book's Slovenian publication, Brian Henry has brought these poems to life for those of us not lucky enough to read Slovenian. Henry's translations are impressive for sheer acrobatics.