Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit
Publication Date: January 2003
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Timothy Donnelly's poems have already garnered a following in some of America's best literary journals (The Paris Review, Ploughshares), and the long-awaited publication of his first collection of poetry will make a spectacular new addition to the Grove Press Poetry Series. Donnelly seduces the reader with his ability to summon up just about any topic, sensibility, or thought, with the self-assurance and effortlessness of a skilled master. The title poem is a brilliant expose of an imaginary play that is an allegorical rendering of a single lifetime. Donnelly imagines a stage and populates it with objects that emerge as pictorial and poetic anchors punctuating the enveloping verse. As the poem craftily weaves around these, its energy builds up to a climax that is both a luminous poetic offering and an amatory overture at the reader. In "Accidental Species," he puts forth a remarkable statement about his own efforts as a poet, a humorous ars poetica ("If I only had a crutch I wouldn't wobble / half so much") by way of a heartbreaking lover's complaint ("The terror I inspired I am made to feel"). Acclaimed by Richard Howard as "brilliant and masterful," Timothy Donnelly's premiere work combines an extraordinary gift for rhetorical exuberance and syntactical intricacy with a stunning poetic maturity. For its thoughtfulness and range, for the sheer energy of its rhetoric, and for the audacity of its poetic acumen, Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit is a remarkable debut collection from one of our most outstanding and original young poets.
Brassai (born Gyula Halasz, 1899-1984) was a photographer, journalist, and author of photographic monographs and literary works, including "Letters to My Parents" and "Conversations with Picasso," both published by the University of Chicago Press.
Richard Howard, a professor at the School of the Arts at Columbia University, is an award-winning poet and translator. His translations include books by Gide, Cocteau, Giraudoux, De Beauvoir, Barthes, Cioran, and Proust, and Baudelaire's "Fleurs du Mal," for which he received the American Book Award.