By remembering how many foreign debts anglophone poetry has accrued over the centuries of its existence ... we are reminded that a poet like Reynek, who seems to emerge from a faraway country of which we know little, is part of the same tradition ... This is lyric poetry of a type in which the poet uses certain patterns of rhyme and pacing that many previous generations have. It is a way of finding likenesses in both words and the world, or sometimes impressing phonic likenesses on disparate experiences, and savoring the phases of that difference.
It could’ve easily been a scrotum, / but most likely it was someone’s wallet.
You must be hungry, he said. / A magnificent sentence like that, / the last I remember him saying.
Afraid / to lift / and clear away / a cockerel’s / corpse. / You well know / by the time / you’ve called for help / the others’ve pecked / away the head.
Parting, practicing parting, gradually mastering the technique, / like taking off your last clothes and purposely remaining helpless and naked
How to leave this house; / where each room leads to another, from one door to the next, / always only there and never back
you say, it’s the cold, which / holds things hard in the eye, when / great stretches polish sleep / like angle grinders within / the branches.
It tastes best before 6 a.m. / Before the children’s screams fill calampas with sounds / And at Christmas before Little Jesus warms / The waters and drives the fish out
Manson's translations of Mallarmé show both sides of the poet: His idiosyncratic language, costumed in its own complexity, and the godly nakedness of his "low" poetry. For those looking for a compact yet comprehensive collection of Mallarmé's verse, The Poems in Verse is it.