The belief in translation as an act of self-portraiture drives Afterwords, Geoffrey Cook's ambitious reimagining of German poems by Goethe, Heine, Rilke and Brecht. Cook's versions not only transform these foreign texts into English poems in their own right, but enrich and expand his uniquely prismatic voice. Cook brings a contemporary and Canadian tone to his adaptations, which also showcase the exacting craftsmanship for which his first collection, Postscript, was praised. Afterwords is a book that daringly celebrates authorship as a shared project. "Do you not feel," writes Goethe, "that, in my songs, I am one and the other, too?"
About the author
Jim Johnstone is a Toronto-based poet, editor, and critic. He’s the author of four previous books of poetry: Dog Ear (Véhicule Press, 2014), Sunday, the locusts (Tightrope Books, 2011), Patternicity (Nightwood Editions, 2010) and The Velocity of Escape (Guernica Editions, 2008), and the subject of the critical monograph Proofs & Equational Love: The Poetry of Jim Johnstone by Shane Neilson and Jason Guriel. He’s also the winner of several awards including a CBC Literary Award, The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and Poetry’s Editors Prize for Book Reviewing. Currently, Johnstone curates the Anstruther Books imprint at Palimpsest Press, and is an associate editor at Representative Poetry Online.
"Canadian-set verses expose Cook's feelings of nomadic un-belonging even as he is in his homeland... This is a collection... unified in its themes of nature, landscape and belonging, but also varied in form and feeling." - British Journal of Canadian Studies
"Cook's work is cosmopolitan..." - Bert Almon, Montreal Review of Books
"[An] astonishingly assured, powerful [and] remarkable debut... [a] fierce, fine book [that] possesses the tang and sting of expert imagism...[Cook] is an original." - George Elliot Clarke, Halifax Herald
"Geoffrey Cook addresses both an intense connection to nature and loss in this remarkable collection of verse..." - Hilary Williamson, Book Loons Reviews
"Cook's poems are inventive and intelligent [and have a] strong and unique music... These are poems of uprootedness, of broken affair, and of the experiences of being an alien." - Ian Cant, Vallum
"Cook is a formal poet who... treads carefully but firmly... at ease with European (and to some extent Asian) traditions, neither denying nor deferring to them, but simply adapting and alluding as needed... The poet-sojourner can never become a true local; the 'awayness' may actually be essential to [Cook's] poetic vision." - Graham Good, Books in Canada
"I usually hate all attempts to translate Heine. I am completely charmed by yours." - Barry Callaghan
"Geoffrey Cook has given us, quite simply, a new, sometimes astonishing, quite wonderful poetic voice." - David Adams Richards