By Len Krisak
In exquisitely crafted poems, Len Krisak’s Say What You Will muses on a wide range of topics, in present-day and historic settings and relevance: ancient Tiberius, modern-day Halloween, cinema icons, and famous artwork, to name a few. Also included are accomplished translations that bring alive the meaning, feeling, and rhythm of the originals. These are poems delightfully wrought in masterful metrical poetry—nonce forms, sonnet, cento, quatrains, and others. This winner of the 2020 Able Muse Book Award is collection filled with enlightenment, wonder, and inspiration.
With unerring artistry, Len Krisak’s poems in Say What You Will extend an invitation with enormous erudition, sure, but equally with wit and charm, solemnity and grace, in this exquisite book.
—Greg Williamson, author of A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck
In Len Krisak’s Say What You Will, a voice comes to us from out of the Midwest, by way of ancient Italy. A formidable translator of Vergil and Horace, Krisak is attuned to echoes lingering in those gorgeous classical ruins that will outlast our century’s bravest new structures. He’s also attuned to the here-and-now in all its incongruities, a place where (in Krisak’s hands) Chinese takeout turns out to rhyme with stakeout.
These are footloose poems, happily ambling here and there, so the reader is hardly surprised if on one page you’re in Russia and in another you’re contemplating the Boston subway, or if one of Vermeer’s silent beauties winds up beside the silent film star Louise Brooks.
Say What You Will is a smart and kindly book.
—Brad Leithauser, 2020 Able Muse Book Award judge, author of Rhyme's Rooms
Readers should welcome Say What You Will, the newest book of accessible but challenging poems by Len Krisak. His subjects range from high culture to pop culture, and his well-crafted translations range from the ancient Greeks to Montale. This is one of the best collections of poetry in this pandemic year.
—A. M. Juster, author of Wonder and Wrath
Len Krisak graduated from the University of Michigan in 1970 and took his MA from Brandeis University in 1974. In Massachusetts, he worked as a textbook editor and English teacher at Brandeis, Northeastern University, Bentley University, and Stonehill College before retiring in 2010 to write poems and translate.
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