Combining lucid, almost chatty autobiography, outspoken progressive politics and a casual mastery of elaborate forms, Hacker's work has won admiration for poems about city life, and (more recently) for translations of Francophone poets. All those skills receive a renewed airing in this confident 10th collection, which opens with an elegy to June Jordan and closes with elegiac sonnets, blank verse, a ghazal and even a canzone. Hacker's title fuses "despair" and Esperanto, and her book in some sense tries for both. Included are a chain of informative sonnets depicting Parisian streets and scenes: "Rue Beaurepaire" considers the "retired mail clerks, philoprogenitive/ Chinese textiles workers, Tunisian grocers" who keep a drug users' clinic from opening, while "Troiseme Sans Ascenceur" starts from "A square of sunlight on the study wall." Where other Anglos in Paris see the sights, Hacker celebrates everyday life in a multicultural, multiracial city, in poems that can read like a personalized travel guide. Freestanding, and perhaps deeper, poems comprise the volume's third section, mixing personal and public grief: angry about the warlike state of the U.S.-led world, Hacker tries hard to "Call the plumber again./ Remember how to think"; writes multiple poems to her ill friend, the poet Hayden Carruth; asks "Is it luck/ no one gets her old life back?"; investigates the ontology of migraine headaches; and searches for "something clearer about pain." If that clearer thing doesn't quite emerge here, the search remains a starting point.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Hacker is a poet-lover of two cities, natal New York and adopted Paris, and she writes about their skies, streets, and citizens with sensory precision and an abiding sense of history. In her magnificent tenth collection, this veteran poet, editor, translator, and teacher channels her thoughts and feelings down two rivers, the Hudson and the Seine, and her liquid lines are themselves riverine in their reflections, swift currents, and shifting hues. Beautifully formed long poems offer vivid portraits of such admired individuals as war resisters and the late writers Joseph Roth and June Jordan, while a series of breathtakingly elegant sonnets provide vibrant collages of city life, such as a pastiche of different languages in a park percolating with romping children and chatting adults. Clouds sail on a strong wind, leaves fall, flowers falter under rain, the aroma of baking bread twists enticingly through a window, lovers take late-night cabs across fog-draped bridges, and women wearing lace park their motorcycles outside a bar. The poet remembers war, illness, heartbreak, and intoxication and is enraptured, instructed, and transformed by the variegated beauty of life, the mysterious presence of mind, and the balm of language. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you don't have a lot of time on your hands, or have difficulty getting through poetry, then this book is not for you. Read morePublished on December 9, 2003 by Ashley
If you don't have a lot of time on your hands, or have difficulty getting through poetry, then this book is not for you. Read more
After reading Hacker's book Desesperanto I felt like I knew her with out knowing her. She writes beautifully about her life, friends, where she grew up, her get-away place(Paris),... Read morePublished on December 9, 2003
I do not doubt the talent or craft of Hacker in her writing-It was just difficult to love her poems because it was so hard to relate. Read morePublished on December 9, 2003 by Mollie Buffaloe
Hacker does is a good poet, she knows what she is doing. And while I enjoyed much of the poetry within this book, I personally feel it need to come wiht a readers guide. Read morePublished on December 9, 2003 by matt
Though Desesperanto is rather challenging (with every other poem requiring the use of either a French-English dictionary or Google), Marilyn Hacker's use of everyday places and... Read morePublished on December 9, 2003 by Chris Staines
Hacker'd Desesperanto seems to be a collection of poems which are heavily inspired by acquaintences, experiences, and societies known by the poet. Read morePublished on December 9, 2003 by mike harrington
The pages of Marilyn Hacker's Desesperanto are filled with stunning language and refreshing, original rhythm that convey a sense of realness that any reader can relate to. Read morePublished on December 8, 2003 by B. Holland