The Book for My Brother

The Book for My Brother

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This newest collection of poems from Tomaž Šalamun is exuberant, ambitious, and full of surprises. Here the devil is encountered and understood-I see the devil's head, people, I see his whole body . . . he longs for innocence, as we do. Here the poet juggles many tones, languages, and countries. Desire is evoked as both frustrating and exhilarating-I'm watered by longing, knocking myhead into the wall, on the ground, or I burn, burn,folded up on the couch.And memory comes back to remind us of the laws and experiences of childhood-Once again you are let loose in the seaonly after five o'clock in the afternoon to takea dose of sunlight like the ticking of the clock.At once daring and clear-voiced, The Book for My Brother is an extraordinary achievement.

Available Resources

  • Format: Paperback

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780156032056

  • ISBN-10: 0156032058

  • Pages: 108

  • Price: $16.95

  • Publication Date: 04/03/2006

  • Carton Quantity: 64

Tomaz Salamun

Tomaz Salamun

Tomaž Šalamun was born in 1941 in Zagreb. He has published over thirty books of poetry and frequently teaches at American universities, including Pittsburgh, Richmond, and Texas.
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  • reviews


    "One of the indispensable poets of the era . . . A poet who one feels has a heart so open and an ear so pure, he might have answers in even the darkest times."

    -JORIE GRAHAM, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry

    "Šalamun's poems manifest a wry, deprecative humor, alternately acerbic and playful; a gift for remarkable images and detail, both surreal and quotidian; and an acute sensitivity to the astounding variety of the world and of history."-BOSTON REVIEW

  • excerpts

    To Have A Friend

    I see the devil’s head, people, I see his whole ­body

    I never thought he could come so ­close

    he longs for innocence, as we do, I have the ­sensation

    he was crammed into the wall for a long ­time


    I have the feeling that his hands ache, that he is ­tender

    and absorbed in thoughts, he licks everything before killing ­it,

    he bursts into tears, scraping meat, he is ­blessed

    he has no friends, he is walking alone in the ­world


    I have the feeling he is saying something to ­me

    that he is watching me with ­regret

    he knows I could never sleep with ­him

    we are both ­humiliated


    he reminds me of the English ­teacher

    when he was pensioned off, and young secret-police ­recruits,

    it seems his beatitude is ­failing

    the souls squeal when he tortures ­them


    he doesn’t drink them, as I ­imagined

    it seems he derives no benefit from ­them

    I think he would like to have a ­friend

    to share goods and ­pleasure


    he steps in the river and wets his head in ­it

    he doesn’t know how to speak with ­it

    he splashes on the ­surface

    I will leave him as he is, I will not talk to ­him



    To the Heart

    Raucous black sky, why did you ­swallow

    my ­proof?

    Who authorized this ­gluttony?

    My brothers are ­flowers.

    Can you still smell haystacks and lemon ­blossoms?

    The body, dipped in water, loses its ­scent.

    The Allahs on the beach smoke their ­pipes.

    All of us burn our ­eyelashes.

    Raucous black sky, did you tally the ­food?

    What will you do in this crowd of white ­cherries?

    Is there a piton in your gluttonous ­cave?

    What kind of papers do you burn under the ­pagoda?

    Don’t birds crash into your ­eyebrows?

    You, who can’t tell the yolk from the ­white,

    where do you put the ­colors?

    Do you think I’ll feed you like an ­hourglass

    which can be turned upside down, into ­eternity?

    I’ll break the horseshoe, we’ll see if ­you

    keep ­breathing!

    Your gates will burn ­down

    below water ­level.

    Raucous black sky, my ­intimate!

    Display the ­stones.

    Crush the eyes of the ­otters

    so you can smell and count them ­better.

    You’re a ­belt!


    Your procession of clay and silk ­flags

    goes mad when they touch one ­another.

    Where then is your papier­-­mâché?

    Do the stars wound themselves in my ­body?

    Have you ever asked them a ­question?

    You keep your gods locked up in bowls like ­peasants

    in vats stomping ­cabbages.

    You’re ­deaf!

    I’ve bitten your heel five times ­already.

    And it grows back like the beards of ­saints,

    because they never ­eat.

    The earth is my bonbon, my ­glutton!

    The rest of the fruit we’ll divide in ­half.

    I’m beating the rug in your mouth, the black ­one,

    to make you ­cough!

    And I’ll roll my children into the fishbones, bend them ­and

    glue them so they straighten up and cut ­your

    throat when you click your tongue ­and

    dream of warmth, because you drank my ­blood.

    Raucous black sky, give me back my ­number!

    Do you see those moist curled ­paws?

    They’re yours if you agree to the rules of the ­game.


    Copyright © 2006 by Tomaz Salamun

     All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced

    or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the ­publisher.


    Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work

    should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887­-­6777.

Available Resources

  • Format: Paperback

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780156032056

  • ISBN-10: 0156032058

  • Pages: 108

  • Price: $16.95

  • Publication Date: 04/03/2006

  • Carton Quantity: 64

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