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Lighter Than Air: moral poems

Published by Bloodaxe Books

ISBN: 9781852245801

£8.95
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David Constantine's translation of Lighter than Air won the European Poetry Translation Prize.

As well as being Germany's most important poet, Hans Magnus Enzensberger is a provocative cultural essayist and one of Europe's leading political thinkers. No British poet can match him in his range of interests and his moral passion.

Lighter than Air, his latest collection of moral poems, weighs lightness against seriousness. These are witty, lightly ironic poems on all kinds of subjects, easy in style, engaging in tone, often conversational.

Enzensberger is a cultured, learned, widely knowledgeable man, but his poems wear their knowledge, learning and culture very lightly. Perfectly at ease in a variety of poetic forms, he presents us again and again with things that matter.

This is intelligent and pointed poetry in the tradition of Brecht, humanely political and generously engaged. The poems have the ease and the lightness of real mastery. They are moral in their insistence that human life can be lived well or badly, that it is up to us to choose well and to act wisely. Enzensberger is now writing with an increasing awareness of mortality, yet addresses social and political dangers and evils with undiminished urgency.

As if of their own free will, the poems of Lighter than Air reach beyond their author to affect other people lastingly. Their lightness will help that endeavour. They will float.

"Hans Magnus Enzensberger is a poet of formidable intelligence and range. Like Brecht before him, he combines an intense political imagination with lyric gusto. The reader discovers in him both a satirist and a friend."
George Steiner

"A voice of ferocious urbanity, laying bare the horrors of the modern German state and resignedly picking out stark cameos of the human condition."
Peter Forbes, Financial Times
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