Zbigniew Herbert is a peerless poet. As such, I cannot overesteem Michael Hofmann's review of his Collected Poems. Herbert lost much in Valles's hands. From word choice to meter, Valles added noise where Herbert's muted voice was called for. This voice comes through in the Carpenters' translations, and one can only hope that they are at work on their own Collected. Hofmann reminds us that we can no longer take for granted Seamus Heaney's assessment of Herbert in translation—that "what convinces one of the universal resource of Herbert's writing is just this ability which it possesses to lean, without toppling, well beyond the plumb of its native language."
Plainfield, New Jersey