The City and the Child - AleŇ° Debeljak, Christopher Merrill
A translation from the Slovenian. This "garland of sonnets" is quite difficult for me to read. For one thing, there is so little rhythm to the translated lines that they don't stick in my mind. For the most part, the images seem strung together without much connection. I'm certainly missing a lot of background that would bring sense. Reading the whole volume in one sitting helps a little -- the images gain resonance by being repeated in different contexts. The whole is full of Christian references. It's easier to make out themes that unite individual sections. For instance, "Interpretation of Love" is, indeed, all love (with flower imagery), not sure if it's all addressed to the poet's wife; "Young Muse" addressed to newborn daughter (a theme that makes almost any writer get a bit sappy); the entire book speaks of the wars that tore up Yugoslavia in the early 90s -- some repeated references that seem to evoke the long history of the region are fortresses, stones, Roman legions; "Manufacturing Dust" has a lot of hunting imagery, but that recurs in the rest of the book too; "Second Baptism" is about exiles, travels, pilgrimages, and also fellowship with other poets.