May 1: Written Late at Night by Janusz Szuber

Au revoir from the Knopf poetry team. We hope to see you next April. For now, a few things to watch for in the coming months:

* A Monster’s Notes, a remarkable fiction in the voice of Mary Shelley’s “monster,” written by poet Laurie Sheck; in which the monster, who originally met Mary as a young girl at the grave of her mother, observes the Shelley family at close range, struggles to come to terms with his role as Victor Frankenstein’s creation in Mary’s work, and travels far and wide, taking notes on the behaviors and artistic inventions of the strange race of humans he cannot quite join, but begins to understand…

* Paperback editions of Franz Wright’s Earlier Poems and W. S. Di Piero’s Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems

* They Carry a Promise, the first collection in English of the poems of the Polish master Janusz Szuber, who here ponders the duties of his craft:

Written Late at Night

Almost all day I sat at the table
And, swapping two pens, wrote letters.
One of them, as a joke, was in gothic script.
I tried to be honest, avoid untruth
As far as the truth about myself and events
In their general contour was accessible to me.
Then a few longer phone conversations
And a short break to read eight poems by Cavafy.
How great! Superb! Who can write like that about desire and love,
Admitting that when they burn out
And the bitter tasting of the body is taken away,
They guide the poet’s hand. In them and only in them
All future incantations.

(Translation by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough)

More about They Carry a Promise

About Janusz Szuber

Excerpt from THEY CARRY A PROMISE. Translation copyright © 2009 by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.