Thursday, August 11, 2011

Absinthe Recommends: The Book of Things by Aleš Šteger

One of our book reviewers, Anne Marie Sumner, recommends Aleš Šteger's The Book of Things.

The Book of Things by the Slovenian poet Aleš Šteger (translated by Brian Henry) is a poetry collection about the quotidian, those ordinary items one never stops to consider in much detail: shoes, doormats, walls, stones, etc.  Šteger, in devoting a collection entirely to objects, forces a reconsideration of broader topics by focusing attention on what is small. For example, in the poem “Paper Clip,” Šteger uses the spiral imprint of a paper clip on paper as a metaphor to turn one’s view “the way inward.”  It is this focus on the common in the poems, in the way Šteger writes as if from the perspective of an item, that invites reflection and a deeper, more thoughtful examination of the surrounding world. 

The Book of Things is published by BOA Editions and won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award in poetry.

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