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In Praise of the Unfinished: Selected Poems Hardcover – March 4, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307267202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307267207
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An admired poet and sometime bestseller in Poland—and an important translator of poetry from English into Polish—Hartwig (now age 85) has also led a memorable life, fighting with the resistance in WWII and taking part in the Solidarity movement. This set of limpid, quotable, often bittersweet lyrics and prose poems makes clear that she could become as acclaimed here as her Nobel Prize compatriots Milosz and Symborska. Countryside landscapes and artifacts from the classical past come to Hartwig as emblems of human endurance, compassion and humility. The same virtues illuminate her poems on public occasions, from 9/11 to the era of Polish martial law: Lord we aren't the only nation tormented this way, she prays, don't let us take pride in it. Later poems speak to the international legacy she favors, especially to the French modernist Apollinaire. For all her topical interest Hartwig is finally a poet of enduring consolation, measured reassurance and scenic clarity, who may also appeal to fans of Mary Oliver. After the poet's death, one prose poem announces, she would like to be a statue looking at the sea, with darkness behind me. (Feb.)
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About the Author

Julia Hartwig has published more than a dozen collections of poetry in her native country, and her work has been translated into French, Lithuanian, German, Russian, Serbian, Hungarian, and Italian. The recipient of numerous awards for her work, she is also a well-known translator of English and French poetry into Polish.

Bogdana Carpenter is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Poetic Avant-Garde in Poland, 1918–1939, and Monumenta Polonica: The First Four Centuries of Polish Poetry, as well as other works.

John Carpenter
is a poet and literary critic. He is author of Creating the World and a study of the literature of the Second World War. Among translations the Carpenters have done as a team are seven volumes of poetry and prose by Zbigniew Herbert.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Kay on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This volume finally introduces the work of Julia Hartwig to English-language readers. She has been celebrated in Europe as one of the premiere poets of our time, but because her work has not been translated, she has remained virtually unknown in the English-speaking world. She will not be unknown any longer. This poet is recommended for anyone who is interested in serious poetry being written today. For those who are curious to see the original Polish text, if only to compare how the poems look on the page, there is a bilingual book with facing-page translations of the Polish originals published by Wydawnictwo Literackie, a major Polish press. You can probably order it if you wish. Both volumes are beautifully printed--they are made to last, and to be read again and again.
You will not regret investing in a book of Hartwig's poems. After her fame in the U.S. becomes equal to her fame in Europe, you will be able to say that you read her before her star rose to its full height.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darrel Drumm on April 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Julia Hartwig is one of the premier European poets of the 20th century. Her life, which spans from the time between the World Wars to the current time in Poland, is echoed in what she has written. Her poetry includes poems about nature and it's calmness, war and its price in lives both victims and survivors, translating English poetry into other languages, art and artists, the time of Russian dominance, visiting other places in the world including Italy and the United States, and a poem about the World Trade Center.

Do not miss this book. Some poet's poem books are made up of good, bad and lukewarm poems. Not Ms. Hartwig, all the poems are from good to excellent. Bogdana Carpeneter and John Carpenter were the translators of this book and did an excellent job.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Peck on March 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend sends me occasional poems that probably come from one or more "poem of the day" sites.

Everything to Measure was from this book. The bit on the book's page here has another that sounded perfectly lovely.

So I got it.

And have been enjoying it for the last couple of days. Not everything, of course, but a lot.
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