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Cattle of the Lord: Poems Paperback – December 13, 2016
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With what kind of voice shall we interrogate God? In Cattle of the Lord, it is anxious, sardonic, sensuousbut never despairing. In these incisive and vulnerable poems, the problem of the eternal divine is filtered through the modern world, in all its alienation and chaos. We’re shown again and again how faith is inextricable from doubt, how eros is inextricable from death. In Rosa Alice Branco, via the compelling translations of Alexis Levitin, we find a poet of immense spiritual, as well as intellectual, curiosity.” Nicky Beer
"Rosa Alice Branco’s Cattle of the Lord is a wild and sneaky book, filled with intelligence, wit, and theological anxiety. These poems inhabit a lush, often pastoral worlda world of not-quite-trustworthy dogs, shuffling cows, village feasts, occasional angels. Here, the enormity of God and questions of mortality and spirit are set against the noise and rhythms of daily life, where every day we have more dead. Or is it they who have us, who tie us to the ground by our hair.” This is a marvelous, moving, and obsessive bookand Alexis Levitin, one of this country’s best translators of poetry, offers an inviting rendering into English."Kevin Prufer
"Rosa Alice Branco’s poems commune with a miraculous intelligence, translate it for us into an understandable language, and meld it with the darkly erotic, revealing a world in which a 'chorus of wounds is in tune,' and 'even grass/ hurts as it enters the heart.' As 'on the coldest nights we rub our bones together/ and lie there watching stars spark,' we read Cattle of the Lord and our minds spark against it, alight with the possibilities it offers us and to literature. It is a book not only to savor, but to study."Sara Eliza Johnson
"Rosa Alice Branco’s brilliant poetry offers a profound vision of the human condition, both dark and engaging, with bright veins of tenderness. Presented here in a deft and sensitive translation by Alexis Levitin, Branco’s Cattle of the Lord deploys a remarkable range of images and symbols: 'vespas . . . like fireflies . . . their bzz bzz . . . the wings of angels discussing the tourists of the day;' cats 'gather slowly on the roof . . . to say no to the heavens. / They want to make it clear close-up;' and even the dead who 'tie us to the ground by our hair.' Branco is among the foremost of contemporary poets; this translation of her work has a place in the library of all those who appreciate extraordinary writing."Miriam KotzinFrom Cattle of the Lord
Lord, how much compassion will it take for you,
To be godfather at the Sunday barbecue?”
Praise for translator, Alexis Levitin
Sensual, clear, concise, lyric, luminous, and earthy. . . . Levitin’s brilliant translations seem to echo the nature of the originals.”Translation Review
The most fetching lyrics in modern Portuguese poetry. . . . Excellent versions in English.”
George Monterio, World Literature Today
About the Author
Rosa Alice Branco is the author of numerous collections of poems in her native Portuguese. In English, her work was featured in "New European Poets" (Graywolf Press, 2008) and has appeared in over thirty magazines. She lives in Porto, Portugal.
Alexis Levitin s thirty-two books in translation include Clarice Lispector s "Soulstorm" and Eugenio de Andrade s "Forbidden Words." Recent publications include "Tapestry of the Sun: An Anthology of Ecuadorian Poetry," cotranslated with Fernando Iturburu; "Brazil: A Traveler s Literary Companion"; and "Blood of the Sun" by Brazil s Salgado Maranhao.