SONG FOR AN EQUINOX by St. John Perse

SONG FOR AN EQUINOX

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With this volume, Princeton completes the publication in its Bollingen series of the works of St. John Perse; these four poems were written between his Oiseaux and his death in 1975. ""Drouth,"" ""Song for an Equinox,"" ""Nocturne,"" and ""Sung by One Who Was There"" are brief but pure, the real and continuing voice of the long-lived Nobel Prize-winning poet. Allusive, elusive, and difficult as ever, Perse again carries us all around the globe, Tartary, Phoenicia, Africa, back through time to the creation of the world, and into Vedantic philosophy and Greek myth. ""To history's pamphlets is added the desert bee, and the solitudes of the past are peopled by legends. . . . Death in a white-lead mask washes its hands at our fountains."" Richard Howard takes occasional liberties with the text (""s'en vont"" for instance, does not equal ""set sail"") but he has rendered well many difficulties, and preserved Perse's typical use of the passive voice. His version has more of that quality clartÉ so esteemed by the French, than the original, but he has captured the tone--learnèd despair tempered by an optimism about the rightness of history.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1977
Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press