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Modern Poems on the Bible: An Anthology Hardcover – 1994


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Hardcover, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This readable anthology gathers together passages from the Hebrew Bible and poems by modern writers who have responded to those. Curzon has not tried for an exhaustive compilation but instead hopes to "illustrate a genre." The book contains poems by some of the most well-known writers of the century--William Butler Yeats, Marianne Moore, Rainer Maria Rilke--but also many fine poems by writers less familiar to readers of poetry in English. For example, he includes several offerings by the Israeli poet Dan Pagis, and a chilling poem by the Russian writer Yevgeny Vinokurov, in which Adam, before gaining knowledge of good and evil, dreams of Auschwitz: "And in his dreams he saw the ovens of Auschwitz / And he saw ditches filled with corpses. / He saw his own children! / In the bliss / Of paradise, his face lit up. / He slept, understanding nothing, / Not knowing good and evil yet." Like most compendiums, the book also includes some weaker work. Curzon views modern poetry on the Bible as an extension of Midrash, the tradition of rabbinical commentary, which shares with contemporary criticism a belief in the multivalent meaning of texts. His book provides evidence of the Bible's continued importance to literature, which constantly renews interpretation and pursues contemporary themes.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In the Jewish tradition of midrash, rabbis and poets respond to and imaginatively interpret specific short texts in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. Curzon has put together an anthology of poems, over half of them in translation and by a widely diverse selection of poets, which provide "midrashic" responses to the "Tanakh" (the Torah, the Prophets, and the writings of the Old Testament). Many poets in this collection are familiar with the midrashic tradition (Rilke, Borges, and Milosz, for example); others are writing from their hearts in response to a biblical passage that moved them. The passages themselves, from the 1985 Jewish Publication Society translation of the Hebrew Bible, accompany each poem. The present collection can be read along with Volume 1 of the recent Chapters into Verse ( LJ 4/1/93), which includes poems from the 17th to the 20th centuries. One wishes Curzon had included biographical information on the poets, but this excellent anthology should be in all poetry collections.
- Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society of America; 2nd edition (1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827604491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827604490
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting and commendable effort. David Curzon chooses Biblical passages and around them gathers modern poetry. They are meant to be a kind of Midrash, an imaginative interpretative extension of the text. He also includes an introductory essay and one on the ' Pleasures of Midrash'.The list of poets is long and largely distinguished .The book is rich in suggestion and inspiration and highly recommended.
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