Academy of American Poets Bestseller
One of the 10 Greatest International Anthologies,
A Timeless Resource
A landmark anthology, providing the most ambitious, far-reaching collection of contemporary Asian and Middle Eastern poetry available. Language for a New Century celebrates the artistic and cultural forces flourishing today in the East, bringing together an unprecedented selection of works by South Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian poets as well as poets living in the Diaspora. Some poets, such as Mahmoud Darwish and Bei Dao, are acclaimed worldwide, but many more will be new to the reader. The collection includes 400 unique voices from 55 countries writing in 40 different languages—political and apolitical, monastic and erotic—that represent a wider artistic movement that challenges thousand-year-old traditions, broadening our notion of contemporary literature. Each section of the anthology–organized by theme rather than national affiliation–is preceded by a personal essay from the editors that introduces the poetry and invokes the readers to examine their own identities in light of these powerful poems. In an age of violence and terrorism–often predicated by cultural ignorance–this anthology is a bold declaration of shared humanness and devotion to the transformative power of art.
This rich collection of poetry from Asia, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, fills a huge gap in our cultural heritage. It is a formidable achievement, and an important contribution to our education.
– Howard Zinn, People’s History of the United States
An indispensable collection.
– Ian McMillan, Host, The Verb, BBC, Radio3
It's a literary anthology no college-level collection should be without.
– Midwest Book Review
This extraordinary, library-in-one-volume: what a resource! Those to whom poetry is essential as the supreme use of language will find the work of many poets they have never before come to, and those readers who have limited themselves to prose have the opportunity to discover how the poet outreaches everything prose can illuminate in who and what we are, no matter where, on the map. Nine thematic groupings of the work bring us wonderfully, almost perilously close to ultimate experience in childhood, love, war, exile, the inextricable relations between politics and the personal, the tragic and the ironic, the wisdom in sorrow and humor, that only the most intense imagination can plumb. That of the poet. The realm of imagination is one. This anthology gives entry to its vast expression in the Middle East and Asia, including the changing sensibilities of poets in the ever-growing world of immigration. Assembled here not the Tower of Babel, but the astonishment and subtlety inherent in many languages and their experimental modes to expand the power of words. The introductions to each section offer perceptions engagingly, against which to place one's own readings. The editors have boldly envisaged and compiled a beautiful achievement for world literature.
– Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer
Language for a New Century is a symphonic sweep of beckoning cries, praises, prayers, curses, ruminations and revelations. An ensemble rich with diverse voices, here the old and the new converge, and something wholly human and futuristic emerges—something that possesses a robust lyricism—shining its light, its illuminated certainty into the twenty-first century. This marvelous anthology assembles a multitude of voices intent on a purposeful, deep singing.
– Pulitzer Prize Winner, Yusef Komunyakaa
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