8 oct. 2008


Peter Cole. Things on Which I've stumbled. 2008. 95 pp.

I was sent some books by New Directions to review so I thought I would incorporate them into the 9000 books of poetry project. Cole is an earnest poet. His reflection on translation reflects Benjamin's influence:

Translation aspires, clearly, beyond its words,
beyond what it renders, beyond even--if through--
sense, yielding or wielding, blunders and wonder,
erasing our notion of a sacred uniqueness
(the original), as incarnation of what was heard.

I wouldn't see "erasing our notion of a sacred uniqueness" as a line of poetry. Maybe the prosaic awkwarkness is meant to convey the awkward, embarrassed status of translation itself.

I found at least one poem, so far, I like quit a bit:


The rain coming down in winter
when I was younger--
say by twenty years--hit the stones
in what seemed then like a sexual manner,
as though its cold ran through my bones.

Now, the room is warmer,
and my bones, too, are no longer
what they were--or even, in places, my own.
The inner seems both less and more
within, and the moments are hours

in which what was and is is sewn

I think of Creeley, for some reason. You wouldn't think that last line would work, but it does.