Places of Permanent Shade
"J. Kates’ Places of Permanent Shade explores big ideas alongside the commonplace, refusing to limit the scope of its lens. . . . And yet, this staunchly eclectic collection is also fiercely focused, unified by the fact that regardless of the subject, the poet never blinks, never looks away, never hesitates to name the pain. J. Kates is paying attention in the exact sense of that phrase — doling out perception like currency, showing us that something is spent when we bother to unearth the truth."
Leigh Rastivo, The Arts Fuse
Translation of poems by Mikhail Yeromin
"It's a testament to the trenchant beauty of Yeryomin's work that his staunch adherence over the years to the eight-lined poems comes across not as a dogged obsession or reflexive eccentricity but as stunning, subtle mastery. Like the cogent, magical work of the finest haiku poets, Yeryomin's 'miniatures' thrill by their fierce attention to natural details and by their startling, revelatory juxtapositions. In these deft, asture English translations by J. Kates, Yeryomin's clear-eyed vision arrives intact — luminous, precise, and bracing."
"[Mikhail Yeryomin] presents revelatory perceptions that startle with their depth and complexity. . . . Kates is a poet and an experienced translator of contemporary Russian poetry. His fine ear for both the rhythm and the sound of verse enables him to come up with effects that convey much of the original . . . while adhering to the tonality of English verse, so that his versions for the most part do not sound translated."
Barry P. Scherr,
Slavic and East European Journal
"Often multilayered and dark—'Earth, dying on the eve of winter / responds to the touch like a cold corpse' — in these poems there is also a sense of possibility: 'We will die and wake up as someone else, / . . .surviving our ending without trauma. / . . .we will choose for ourselves.' This is a beautifully translated volume that neither exoticizes nor renders out the joy of reading poetry grounded in another place and language. Against the 'obstruct[ing]” sounds of “desiccated tendons . . . on a stringed instrument,' Tazhi’s poetry is a music that explores our shared borders as spaces of opportunity, for the possibility of creating 'an imagined world: one that absorbs music from the outside, / and will not preserve the borders / of an internal country.' ”
World Literature Today
I have Invented Nothing
Selected poems by Jean-Pierre Rosnay
"Two things . . . raise it into the realms of the memorable. Firstly, the title is clearly a lie. In fact, Rosnay was an unusually inventive, imaginative writer. Secondly, to the extent that he did draw upon his own experiences, he had the enormous advantage — rare among poets today — of having lived an interesting life."
Ross Cogan, PN Review
In the Grip of Strange Thoughts
Russian poetry in a new era selected and edited by J. Kates
“Kates's commentary on various approaches to translating Russian poetry will be especially illuminating to the anglophone readers for whom the volume is intended. With its range of reverberating voices, the present title will be welcomed by Russian- and English-speaking readers of contemporary poetry.”
N. Tittler, Choice
“. . . an enjoyable and admirable work. Its thirty-two poets show a tremendous thematic and stylistic range, but are united in their feeling for the vitality of language.”
The Times Literary Supplement
“This book is an absolute gift to students and lovers of poetry.”
British East-West Journal
Contemporary Russian Poetry
Evgeny Bunimovich, Editor
J. Kates, Translation Editor
"We are offered . . . a vigorous new poetry, predominantly urban and often highly colloquial and cynical in tone, though mystical or spiritual poetry is also well represented, providing an interesting lyrical counterweight to worldly postmodernism. . . Kates and Bunimovich have done a service to students of Russian literature. There are many wonderful translations here."
The Times Literary Supplement
With Stephen A. Sadow
Translation of poems by Alicia Aza
"The second collection of poems by the Madrid-based Alicia Aza, which won her the 2011 RDC International Poetry Prize, is titled Winter Journey, and in line with this, it observes in its first line that we are 'perpetual wayfarers without return,' adding as necessary confirmation that the path will be dark and lonely, although the fortuitous encounter with beauty will come as a pleasing surprise."
Antonio Moreno Ayora, Diario Córdoba
We, the Generation in the Wilderness
Translation of poems by Ricardo Feierstein
" . . . Kates and Sadow have performed a valuable service in making some of Feierstein's poetry available to the English-speaking public. They have provided us with access to the poetry of one of the most important writers of the present generation of Jewish Argentine authors, and they have kept the spirit and the rhythms of the original poetry.
Clark Zlotchew, Translation Review