The Briar Patch
Selected Poems & TranslationsJ. KatesRule Number One: Everything’s attached.In the briar patch whichever wayyou turn, somebody gets scratched.Volume V of the Granite State Poetry Series brings together selected poems by J. Kates with some of his best translations.
J. Kates is a poet, a literary translator and the president and co-director of Zephyr Press (zephyrpress.org). He has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation and a Käpylä Translation Prize. He has published three chapbooks of his own poems: Mappemonde (Oyster River Press) Metes and Bounds (Accents Publishing) and The Old Testament (Cold Hub Press) and a full book, The Briar Patch (Hobblebush Books). He is the translator of The Score of the Game and An Offshoot of Sense (Tatiana Shcherbina); Say Thank You and Level with Us (Mikhail Aizenberg); When a Poet Sees a Chestnut Tree, Secret Wars, and I Have Invented Nothing (Jean-Pierre Rosnay); Corinthian Copper (Regina Derieva); Live by Fire(Aleksey Porvin); Thirty-nine Rooms (Nikolai Baitov); Psalms (Genrikh Sapgir); Muddy River (Sergey Stratanovsky) and Paper-thin Skin (Aigerim Tazhi). He is the translation editor of Contemporary Russian Poetry, and the editor of In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era. A former president of the American Literary Translators Association, he is also the co-translator of six books of Latin American and Spanish poetry.
- “I have always admired the clarity and quiet intensity of J. Kates’s poetry. This long-overdue collection includes a generous sampling of not only his own wry, precisely-worded poems that bring to mind Seamus Heaney (“Starting School” is one of my favorites in that vein) but also his accessible translations, ranging from the ancient Romans to some of Russia’s finest voices. This volume should bring him more of the attention he has long deserved.” —Joseph Bruchac“Kates brings the same poised, witty, erotic, compassionate skills masterfully into play in the poems that are his own and in his distinguished translations.” —David Ferry“It’s not the first thing one notices, the craft. That comes with returning to these poems, as one would lift to the light a cherrywood box with dovetailed joints or admire a finely-turned spindle . . . because the turns of phrase, the rhymes, the often formal constructs and the sly wit are subtle undercurrents in work that is ambitious and daring in its emotional range and variety of subjects. Kates brings an almost fierce attention to what matters in art and life, and never turns away from the hard truths (All art is mortal / And most of art honors mortality); yet everywhere in these poems there is abundant love and laughter.” —Marie Harris
- 112 pp, PaperbackISBN 978-0-9845921-8-0Price $16Publication Date: September, 2012