Monday, October 19, 2020

Appreciation …

 … Opposites Refract — A Review of Wonder and Wrath by A. M. Juster.

Wonder and Wrath is an apt title for a collection that both marvels at and rails against human frailty, against the backdrop of a fallen universe. The book’s seriousness lies in its sustained resistance to the easy way out: either to reject or embrace, without caveat, a cosmos that consists, in equal measures, of miracle and outrage.


As we might expect, Wonder and Wrath includes an ample selection of translations. These range from versions from the Chinese, to Welsh, to fragments of Rilke’s French, which Juster has, provocatively, “completed.” Juster seems to have a special affinity for Latin poems composed by English poets and has included two of them in this collection, both valuable additions to the canon for those of us who do not read Latin. “To my dear friend, M. J. Jackson, disparager of this treatise,” by A. E. Housman, is thought to be the last Latin poem by a major English poet and is significant for that reason. Typically, Housmanian, it adds little to his extant body of work—it is one more poem about death and unrequited homosexual love.

And a sample: “Rounding up the Mimes” by A. M. Juster

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


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