Where Have You Been?: Selected Essays

Where Have You Been Selected Essays An adventure with a roving genius of literary criticismMichael Hofmann poet translator and intellectual vagabond has established himself as one of the keenest critics of contemporary literature Safe

  • Title: Where Have You Been?: Selected Essays
  • Author: Michael Hofmann
  • ISBN: 9780571323661
  • Page: 221
  • Format: Hardcover
  • An adventure with a roving genius of literary criticismMichael Hofmann poet, translator, and intellectual vagabond has established himself as one of the keenest critics of contemporary literature Safely nestled between the covers of Where Have You Been , he offers a hand to guide us and an encouraging whisper in our ear, leading us on a trip through what to read, how to tAn adventure with a roving genius of literary criticismMichael Hofmann poet, translator, and intellectual vagabond has established himself as one of the keenest critics of contemporary literature Safely nestled between the covers of Where Have You Been , he offers a hand to guide us and an encouraging whisper in our ear, leading us on a trip through what to read, how to think, and why to like And while these essays bear sharp insights that will help us revisit writers with a fresh eye, they are also a story of love between a reader and his treasured books In the thirty essays collected here, Hofmann brings his signature wit and sustained critical mastery to a poetic, penetrating, and candid discussion of the writers and artists of the last hundred years Here are the indispensable poets without which contemporary poetry would be unimaginable Elizabeth Bishop, the poets poets poet, the ghostly skill of Robert Lowell, and the man he calls the greatest English poet since Shakespeare, Ted Hughes But he also illumines the despair of John Berryman and the antics of poetry s bogeyman, Frederick Seidel In essays on art that are themselves works of art, Hofmann s agile and brilliant mind explores a panoply of subjects from the mastery of translation to the best day job for a poet What these diverse gems share are the critic s insatiable curiosity and great charm Where Have You Been is an unmissable journey with literature s most irresistible flaneur.

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    About “Michael Hofmann

    • Michael Hofmann

      Michael Hofmann is a German born poet who writes in English, and a translator of texts from German.He is the son of German novelist Gert Hofmann 1931 1993.

    868 thoughts on “Where Have You Been?: Selected Essays

    • I was rather rudely shocked by the first part of this book. I knew Hofmann entirely from his translations of German poets (e.g Gottfried Benn) and his glorious destruction of Stefan Zweig in the TLS (which is reprinted here, and deserves to be re-read; surely one of the greatest hit-jobs in all of reviewery). So imagine my dismay when I learned that Hofmann is actually a devotee of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, James Schuyler and Robert Frost, among others. By far the longest pieces here a [...]


    • I only read one chapter (my intention from the beginning), the one titled "'Sharp Biscuit': Some Thoughts on Translating". I wanted to get some ideas on translating poetry that I can apply to my own translations of Indonesian poets. And I did. Hofmann hedges away from the accepted ideas that a translator should not exist, that a translator should not be seen or heard, should just be "a plate of glass". I think anyone who has tried to translate something from another language knows this is imposs [...]


    • I loved this book because Hofman's claim to fame is translation from German, and he sprinkles references to German authors and actual German through out. I also loved it because I realized I had a set opinion on Ted Hughes, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop. This book made me rethink that and go back to the poet's with a clearer eye and a more open mind. Hofman also reinforced my appreciation of others like Frederick Seidel and Berryman. His digressions on Australian poetry and poets was nice. [...]


    • Haven't read all of this, but I know enough to know it's very good. Books like this, however, I prefer to read in parts, rather than as a whole. Hoffman mostly reviews poetry and the writing, though prose, is often poetic.


    • *3.5 stars“e urgency and narrowing purpose of midlife, what the Germans call ‘Torschlusspanik’ (fear of the gate closing)” (17).“Lowell was prescribed lithium, which made it a little easier perhaps to control the symptoms. He was upset and bemused by the disproportionate effect of what he termed the ‘lack of a little salt in the brain’” (77).“Lowell was able to do this: to suggest meaning, but not insist on it or fussily encode it” (80-81).“At the same time, the writing nev [...]


    • I wasn't familiar with a couple of the poets Hofmann discussed in Part One of this collection (Basil Bunting?) but Hofmann's language was something to relish nonetheless. Some sentences I read only for their cadences and perfect balance, and to participate in his infectious enthusiasm for the word. He has turned me on to the poetry of W.S. Graham . . .Part Two consisted of longer pieces that moved beyond poetry criticism. The essay on translation was feisty and I enjoyed how he criticized other [...]


    • "Acts of English literacy as curative consistently run throughout Where Have You Been?, a compilation of twenty-five accounts illustrating the intensely personal relationship the writer shares with the written word. . . . As with all healing, there is pain. Most tellingly, the first section shows the writers themselves as they piece together the shards of their own lives through writing." - Andrea Dawn Bryant, Leipzig, GermanyThis book was reviewed in the November 2015 issue of World Literature [...]


    • Hofmann is a great, great translator and this gives him huge credibility as a critic. He's super-well-read and a great critic: though I think I would enjoy this more if he'd cast his net more broadly, in this book, at least, a lot of the articles are about poets I'm probably not actually going to get to


    • I’m very glad I read this. The writing is amazing. The essays themselves are…well…odd and interesting. The author offers essays on writers I know and writers I don’t know. When he is writing about poets I learn a lot. He seems to love poetry and poets and his writing about them reveals many surprises to me. I read to learn and I learned a lot from this interesting collection of essays.


    • sort of hofmann's *what to read* list. not a book i'd read cover to cover, but valuable for his take on several poets that may have escaped your notice. added several titles/authors to my "to read" list based on these essays and so, for that, it's worth looking at.


    • his wit is a marvel of maniac sincerity, his courage an exemplary cure against critical timidity, and his bloodlettings and re-dismemberings of the bloated corpses of the canon - well, canonical. read him


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