Blazons: New and Selected Poems by Marilyn Hacker
PBS Special Commendation Spring 2019
This generous new volume is a sequel to Essays on Departure (Carcanet, 2006) collecting a quarter century's work by one of the most elegant and pertinent poets working in English. She brings together material from eight books, including a generous excerpt from the erotic verse novel Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons, and new work written in a vertiginously changing political world. Hacker writes narrative poems, lyrics and elegies; she is witty, angry, traditional, experimental. Her poetry is in open dialogue with its sources, which include Donne, Akhmatova, Muriel Rukeyser, Joseph Roth, and the Algerian Kateb Yacine. In the past decade, this exchange has been informed by Hacker's celebrated translations of contemporary French poets, and a selection of this work is included alongside her own poems. Her poetry has been celebrated for its keen observation of her two cities, New York and Paris, its fusion of precise form and demotic language, its music, its memory, and its stubborn delectation of life.