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Ashes of Light: New and Selected Poems [Paperback]

By Lyubomir Levchev, Valentin Krustev (Translator), Jack Harte (Translator), Eleanor Preston-Whyte (Editor), Fernanda Veron (Photographer) & Helton G. Baynes (Translator)
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Item description for Ashes of Light: New and Selected Poems by Lyubomir Levchev, Valentin Krustev, Jack Harte, Eleanor Preston-Whyte, Fernanda Veron & Helton G. Baynes...

Ashes of Light provides a broad spectrum of Levchev's work. This volume of new and selected poems testifies to the continuing vibrancy of this most critically acclaimed and most popular poet of Bulgaria. Although a major voice protesting against oppression, he is also known for his poems about love and death and the mystery of existence. His is an orphic voice, tender and prophetic.

His sympathy with the working class is evident in such poems as "Lullaby" and Gimmebreadye." He never lost his faith in socialist principles in spite of the crackdown on writers during the cold war. His friend, Yevtushenko wrote him on his 70th birthday, "We didn't leave socialism; socialism left us."

One of the charming things about Levchev's poetry is his sly and often self-deprecating humor, even in his treatment of serious matters and grand themes. "Almost like Sisyphus / and quite like myself / I heave the stone a little," he begins in a poem on the swift passage of time and life's vanities. The poems in Ashes of Light are arranged in chronological order. Read straight through in this order, they tell the story of a man who has thought much, suffered much, and loved much and who has a deep sense of spirituality and an abiding love for the natural world.

It is fitting that the art work accompanying the poems is by Mark Gerard McKee, who, during his time in Bulgaria, sketched many of the kinds of people Lyubomir writes about with the same passion and intensity. Although not "illustrations" in any sense of the word, these drawings capture the inherent spirit of the poet.

Poet and translator Valentin Krustev was born in Bulgaria in 1949. His poetry collection, Between Heaven and Earth was published by Orpheus Press in 2005. He has translated extensively from English and Russian, including books by Joseph Brodsky and William Meredith. His translations from and into English have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   121
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   Curbstone Press
ISBN  1931896305  
ISBN13  9781931896306  

Availability  0 units.

More About Lyubomir Levchev, Valentin Krustev, Jack Harte, Eleanor Preston-Whyte, Fernanda Veron & Helton G. Baynes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Levchev is the preeminent living poet of Bulgaria. A leading figure from the "April" generation of poets that came into prominence after de-Stalinization in 1950, he has published over 20 volumes of poetry and won numerous awards for his work.

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Ashes of Light: New and Selected Poems?

overview of the poetry of the 50-year career of noted Eastern European poet  Dec 1, 2006
Levchev (b. 1935) has gotten a wide reputation for his poetry beyond his native Bulgari. He has received awards in France and Russia; and his poems have been translated into German, Greek, Hindi, Polish, and Spanish, among other languages. In this volume, 49 poems from his 50-year span of writing are arranged chronologically. The poems evidence Levchev's range of subjects, thoughts, and observations. Throughout his decades of writing his style has for the most past retained a directness and concreteness. With these stylistic attributes, he portrays the historical and cultural complexities of Bulgaria and by implication other Eastern European lands. Many poems--e. g., Love in the Military Hospital--approach a Kafkaesque sense of absurdity; but any budding sense of defeat and estrangement is overtaken or in some cases negated by notes of optimism or hope or by the realization of one's possibilities, however limited, in such circumstances. As the poet recognizes in one place, this is where "the age of blind luck reigned" since persons living uncertain lives in totalitarian systems had hardly any control over their own destinies and fates. "And under me/seven ages/have already been excavated..." [from "Not Far From the Shore]. Levchev lucidly and only at times bitterly depicts the balancing act of surviving, keeping one's sanity, and nurturing seeds of hope and betterment when circumstances are precarious and often threatening.
Confronts life with vividly wording images and verse  May 2, 2006
Principally translated by Valentin Krustev, with supplemental translations by Jack Harte, Ashes Of Light anthologizes philosophical, metaphorical, intuitive, and eccentric poetical rhetoric drawn from the works of Lyubomir Levchev. Gracing readers with the slight of tongue and diligent touch of realism, Ashes Of Light confronts life with vividly wording images and verse. Caprice No. Two: Dammit!/This world is so mercurial,/so entertaining/and so kind/that it starts reminding me/of the house of a hanged man!/And I am giggling./I am wandering the streets/with some friend of mine/who figures out the cunning game/and then guess what their legs are like./And I am giggling...//Yet how I feel like talking about the rope!/Ah, how I feel like talking about the rope!...

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