Ramsey Nasr; translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
5 3/4" x 7 3/4" • 169 pages
ISBN 9780954966690 • paperback • $15.00 •
Prize-winning poet, essayist, dramatist and actor Ramsey Nasr, born 1974 in Rotterdam into a Palestinian-Dutch family, was voted Poet Laureate of the Netherlands in 2009. A man of many passions, including classical music, drama, poetry and travel, as city poet of Antwerp in 2005 his appearances were attended like pop concerts.
The poems in Heavenly Life were selected by the poet from his collections and from works written as poet laureate. His translator is the award-winning David Colmer, joint-winner of the 2010 IMPAC prize for his translation of The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker, who has dynamically recreated in English the patterns and sounds of Ramsey's inventive, bold and thoughtful poems. With an introduction by Victor Schiferli and foreword by Ruth Padel.
The collection includes the poem which voted Nasr into his laureate post - in the Netherlands the laureate is chosen by popular vote. Another is a three-part poem inspired by the life of Dmitri Shostakovich and based on his Sonata for Viola and Piano. The title poem Heavenly Life, meanwhile, was written to commemorate the 150h anniversary of Gustav Mahler's birth and is based on his Fourth Symphony, the four sections of the poem echoing the structure, tone and length of its movements. It is named after "Das himmlische Leben," the song that forms the symphony's finale.
Renowned American poet Marilyn Hacker writes: "With this collection Anglophone readers are introduced to a poet of global scope. Ramsey Nasr is already a polyvalent literary figure in his own country and language - multifaceted, virtuosic, irreverent and polymath.
"His poems, in every form and register from sonnet to Whitmanian tirade, do not balk at history, whether that of his family's situation in the West Bank or the fate of Dutch Jewish musicians and Mahler's music during the Nazi Occupation of the Netherlands - to name but two stopping points."
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