Sunday, June 18, 2006


The funny thing about the book quiz is I recommended myself a book that turned out to be fabulous: Vasko Popa’s “Homage to the Lame Wolf,” translated by Charles Simic. Popa published an anthology of Serbian folklore and it’s obvious in his poems how he’s tied to stories, the weirdness, the magic, the earthiness. He’s surreal and comic and a little scary. As Simic points out in the intro, there’s hardly any “I” in his poems.

Here’s one of my favorites:


One strokes the leg of a chair
Until the chair moves
And gives him a sweet sign with its leg

Another kisses a keyhole
Kisses it O how he kisses it
Until the keyhole returns his kiss

A third stands aside
Stares at the other two
Shakes shakes his head

Until it falls off

That one is part of a grouping of poems called “Games.” Most of the poems are grouped. There’s a cycle of “White Pebble” poems, “The Little Box” poems, etc. I really recommend this book.


Hedgie said...

Popa is a fine poet whose work I discovered only recently, and Simic's Homage to the Lame Wolf is excellent. I have an entry on Vasko Popa over in "The Jackdaw's Nest."

SarahJane said...

That's terrific. I'll be over to check out the piece you mention. I first read a couple poems of his last year that I liked, and finally got around to getting the Simic book.

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