To read David Ferry’s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. The passionate nature and originality of Ferry’s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half-century. Ferry’s translations, meanwhile, are amazingly acclimated English poems. Once his voice takes hold of them they are as bred in the bone as all his other work. And the translations in this book are vitally related to the original poems around them.
David Ferry’s new poems, in their grace and profundity, spiritual wisdom and utilitarianism, reach toward immortality, and may achieve it. These are the quiet, careful poems of the craft’s master, singing about the human condition as casually and ferociously as it is lived. In this new work, the poet’s influences are resurrected, and his own influence on future poetry is secured. He writes about our “furious clarity,” and he writes with it.