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Poems of effervescent grace—about nature, magpies, reality, “the unreasons of this world,” and spiders—from one of Portugal’s most beloved poets, published in a beautiful bilingual edition
World—Ana Luísa Amaral’s second collection with New Directions—offers a new exhilarating set of poems that convey wonder, bemusement, and an ever-deepening appreciation of life. Weaving the thread that connects the poem to life, World speaks of our immense human perplexity in the face of everything around us and our oneness with it all. As Amaral notes, all of us, “humans and non-humans, are on the same ontological level, the differences being only a matter of perspective. We are all made of the same stuff as dreams—and stars.” Asked about her thoughts on World, Amaral’s peerless translator Margaret Jull Costa replied: “What I take from this collection of poems is a sense of joy in the ordinary—seeing an ant going about its business, or a bee or a fish, or the feeling of sharing a whole history with a particular table, or watching a very ordinary woman sitting on a train playing with the handle of her handbag. World also brings us meditations on colonization, slavery, and whaling. Like the world, it is full of surprises and full of joy and sadness.” These vibrant, exultant poems invite you to share this marvelous world: Yes, all you need (how easy!) is to say yes.
About the Author
Winner of the Premio Reina Sofía for Poetry, Ana Luísa Amaral (1956-2022) was born in Lisbon. She was highly acclaimed not only for her poetry, but also for her plays, children’s books, books of essays, and a novel. She was widely regarded as the finest translator into Portuguese of Emily Dickinson and William Shakespeare. Her books have been translated into many languages and her awards include the Premio Internazionale Fondazione Roma and the PEN Prize for Fiction. In 2019, New Directions published her What’s in a Name to rave reviews and forthcoming is her new work, World.
Margaret Jull Costa, who has translated Javier Marías and José Saramago, lives in England.
Amaral carves a space for fragmentation, uncertainty, and meditative silence within the repertoire of inherited forms. In this accomplished volume and translation, Amaral’s subtle experimentation makes strange an artistic repertoire we thought we knew.
— Publishers Weekly
Brilliant: her words celebrate the hidden potentiality inside every woman—and the spontaneity of life itself, even in the contemplation of sudden death.
This bilingual volume, pairing Costa’s translations with Amaral’s Portuguese originals, relies on humble imagery and plain language to plumb complicated truths.
— The New York Times Book Review
Lightning in a bottle: Amaral has a remarkable gift for making the personal universal and the universal intimate.
— Hasan Altaf - Paris Review Dailey
Here is a lucid, forthright poet charmed by the paradoxes of each poem, by the tiny gestures and traces of life faceted within each poem, and by the vocation of poetry itself.
— Rachel Blau DuPlessis