Calligraphies: Poems (Hardcover)

Calligraphies: Poems By Marilyn Hacker Cover Image
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A formally brilliant and powerful volume from “one of the most extraordinary innovative poets writing today” (Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times).

Moving from Paris to Beirut and back, Calligraphies is a tribute to exiles and refugees, the known and unknown, dead and living, from the American poet Marie Ponsot to the Syrian pasionaria Fadwa Suleiman. Award-winning poet Marilyn Hacker finds resistance, wit, potential, and gleaming connection in everyday moments—a lunch of “standing near the fridge with / labneh, two verbs, and a spoon”—as a counterweight to the precarity of existence.

With signature passion and agility, Hacker draws from French, Arabic, and English to probe the role of language in identity and revolution. Amid conversations in smoky cafes, personal mourning, and political turmoil, she traces the lines between exiles and expats, immigrants and refugees. A series of “Montpeyroux Sonnets” bookends the volume, cataloguing months in 2021 and 2022 in which the poet observes a village “in pandemic mode” and reflects on her own aging.

In a variety of tones and formal registers, from vivid crowns of sonnets to insistent ghazals to elegiac pantoums and riffs on the renga, Calligraphies explores a world opened up by language.

About the Author

Marilyn Hacker is the author of nineteen volumes of poems. Her honors include the National Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, the Robert Fagles Translation Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. She lives in Paris.

Praise For…

Hacker examines love, war, resistance, literature, memories, and aging, but what she does best is capture the everyday: the tastes and smells of food, coffee, and wine, and, most importantly, the clashes of languages and cultures... [T]hese poems breathe with life... {A] poetic journey not to be missed.
— Library Journal (starred review)

Formally ambitious and energetic... These varied and powerful poems highlight the healing that resides in poetic collaboration and friendship across borders.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Yet another astonishing and important book of poems by Marilyn Hacker, open and generous, ever-attentive, fiercely intelligent, a book of morally infused witness to our troubled times, a book of sensuousness, profoundly felt, a book of love. Hacker, in Calligraphies—as she has always done—does what great poets do, formally capture what it’s emotionally like to be most alive.

— Lawrence Joseph, author of A Certain Clarity

Calligraphies’ etymology of 'beautiful writing' proves true and moves us into the future as Hacker’s sly insight, salty candor, and masterful craft has done for nearly 50 years. Our sage femme of form and politics, her language from Paris, New York and Beirut, is always the cry from the street—and the heart—because Hacker is one of our great translators of the human experience.

— Jessica Greenbaum, author of Spilled and Gone

In Calligraphies, Marilyn Hacker further cements her position as one of our greatest contemporary masters of poetic form. Elegant and yet homespun, cosmopolitan yet grounded, Hacker's poems (in the shapes of sonnets, tankas, ghazals) document and sing the lives of exiles, her friends from Beirut to Paris and beyond. Thriving on what Edward Said called 'late style,' that period of an artist's practice where they face the end, Hacker has become a poet not only for her (and our) twilight age, but for the ages.

— Philip Metres, author of Shrapnel Maps

Product Details
ISBN: 9781324036463
ISBN-10: 132403646X
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 144
Language: English