This world is a horror movie

My review of Cipango by Tomás Harris translated by Daniel Shapiro is up on the Quarterly Conversation. Here’s a bit of it, read the whole thing over there:

In this mad, dark history there is nevertheless beauty. In moments of poetic grace, the lyrical skills of both Harris and translator Daniel Shapiro shine. The grimy urban rhythm of the poetry pulses beneath the skin of the poems, surfacing in moments of clarity and concision. The most successful moments in the work are when the language is boiled down to its essence, when the poetic voice takes on a liturgical note, and when the translator has freed himself sufficiently from the specter of fidelity (a slippery concept to begin with) to innovate. The first section of the book sets out, fugue-like, the themes that develop through the rest of the work.

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