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Customer Review

on December 12, 2000
A solid selection of poems written by major poets from around the globe. Diverse cultures represented. The quality of the translations is very good, making the poems accessible to English-speaking readers. One recurrent problem: no explanatory notes are provided to help English-speakers, particularly younger readers and college students, grasp the historical, political, social, or cultural allusions in some poems. For example, the Viet Nam poet Nguyen's "Model Citizens of the Regime" takes on fuller meaning if the reader knows that the "jail" referred to in the poem is not a penal institution for criminals but actually a communist re-education camp to which Vietnamese children were sent to be indoctrinated in Marxist ideology. Having a bit of this geopolitical, social, or cultural context, readers can gain a fuller understanding of the poems. One small complaint: the anthology was published prior to the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska's receipt of the Nobel Prize, and therefore the head note for her selection does not make note of that honor.
Given the general lack of interest in poetry, especially poetry from other countries, we're nonetheless lucky to have this anthology.
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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