Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Poets
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Nachoem M. Wijnberg
by Nachoem M. Wijnberg, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
The Dutch poet Nachoem M. Wijnberg is one of the most inventive, surprising, entertaining, and thought-provoking poets writing today. He is also remarkably productive, so that up to now only a small portion of his extensive body of work has appeared in English translation.
This new selection of poems draws on all twenty volumes Wijnberg has published to date, constituting an indispensable introduction to this wry, off-kilter, spellbinding modern master. Wijnberg, not only a poet but a professor of business studies—hence his persistent concern with questions of value, real and false—writes only in the plainest language while displaying a formidable erudition. His poems engage economics, philosophy, and history; he writes Chinese poems and Jewish poems and classic songs; he tells stories that may or may not be parables; he writes from where the mind meets the heart. “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” Emily Dickinson enjoins. Wijnberg for his part has said, “Alienation is the last thing I am trying to achieve. The world is strange enough as it is and my poems help in dealing with that strangeness by bringing it close and as far as possible trying to understand it.”
Wijnberg is a thrilling phenomenon in contemporary European poetry—his huge stylistic and intellectual range is matched by an exquisite sense of play and the kind of deep strangeness that, like Pessoa’s, is open to all comers. David Colmer performs an enormous service in making available to English-language readers the full scope of this Dutch poet’s philosophical investigations in translations of great lucidity and lyrical power.