Friday, March 18, 2011

Vasko Popa :: Editors' Pick

Ancient rock painting at Horseshoe Canyon, Utah

I could ramble on and on about Popa's use of myth, folklore, surrealism, etc. I could talk about the humor and sly intelligence which springs out of his deceivingly simple poems. I could talk about his use of repetition and cliché . But these labels and explanations would do little but distract attention from the man's voice. Instead I'll just let the 'lame wolf' poet from Serbia say it, and hopefully you will see it for yourselves:

Echo Turned to Stone

Once upon a time there were so many echoes
They were slaves of one voice
Built him arches

The arches tumbled down
They’d built them crooked
The dust buried them

They gave up the dangerous labor
Turned to stone from hunger

Turned to stone they flew
To find to rip to bits the lips
From which the voice came

They flew no one knows how long
Blind fools, didn’t they see
That they flew along the edge of the lips
They were seeking

Translated by Charles Simic.

For more on Vasko Popa go to

-By Adam Shutz

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