Wonder and Wrath is the latest book of original and translated poetry from A. M. Juster, one of America’s most respected poets and translators. These poems display great formal accomplishment and deliver pleasure in the act of reading them―especially aloud. Rooted in the tradition, the poems in Wonder and Wrath have appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, Rattle, and many other top journals. Read this book of poems from start to finish; you’ll enjoy every one of them!
“The meditative tenth book from poet and translator Juster closely considers contemporary life and mortality, as well as the whimsical and unexpected. These poems imagine the characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream hungover, fruit flies drunk on Riesling, and 'A Kay Ryan Fanboy Poem,' but they also engage with the threat of tumors, and the difficulties of mourning the dead. Juster’s images are vivid and precise."―Publishers Weekly
"Juster is a poet of control—carefully pared lines whose concision creates profluent energy.”―The Millions
"Juster regards the common and the sacred in the everyday . . . Sections titled Outer, Inner, and Other form a cohesive triptych that anchors this strong collection, which includes Juster's skilled translations of poems by Li Po and Rimbaud, and a take on a Bob Dylan classic that is very funny and not to be missed."―Booklist
"This may be Juster’s best collection, for its openness, its confession of utter vulnerability, its capacity to make the reader laugh while aching. It does perfectly what only the best poetry can do: say opposites at the same time and mean both. It really is a wonder—but the wrath is also real and I commend Juster for it.”―Rhina P. Espaillat, author of And After All: Poems
"Wonder and Wrath represents the culmination and integration of A. M. Juster's diverse and remarkable career. In nine previous volumes of poetry and verse translation, Juster displayed mastery of so many modes and manners that it was sometimes difficult to bring his artistic personality into focus. In Wonder and Wrath, the variety remains, but the superb new poems are compellingly unified. Juster's late style is capacious―nothing human is alien to him. He is simultaneously tender and savage, witty and sad, vulgar and learned. In this go-for-broke volume, Juster also writes in over two dozen forms from sonnet to pantoum, haiku to heroic couplet, all splendidly handled. Page after page, the poems strike home.”―Dana Gioia, author of 99 Poems: New & Selected
"For twenty years now, Juster has been a powerful and vital force for poetry. He has proven himself a master of formal poetics (if the form exists, he’s probably used it, and to stunning effect). As an exemplary translator, he has brought out of obscurity poems from the Chinese classics through the long Roman tradition, as well as works from Welsh and the African oral tradition, Aldheim, Milton’s Latin, Petrarch, Baudelaire, Rilke, and Housman. He’s a brilliant satirist as well, with delightful riffs on Billy Collins and Bob Dylan. As dark as many of these poems may be, their lyrical meters will move and comfort you, and surely make you laugh as only good poetry, like a good joke with a real punch, can."—Paul Mariani, author of Ordinary Time: Poems and The Mystery of It All
From Wonder and Wrath:
Mist on moonspill as midnight nears.
Adrift but not dreaming our drowsy son
is covered and kissed. At the kitchen door
our old basset is barking; coyotes out back
are standing like statues down by the dogwoods.
Across the crystal of crusted snow,
they search for stragglers to startle and chase.
Their vigil reveals no victims this night.
Trash would be trouble; they trot away
unbothered by bloodthroated growling and baying.
No star distracts their stealthy march.
As the highway hums they howl through the calm,
then savor new scents that savor their path
in this world awash in wonder and wrath.
"Japanese Maple in January”
All spring she brushed aside my arguments
it would be cheaper, and would make more sense,
to fill the yard with hardy native stock.
She bought her maple, junked the chain-link fence,
and tried to start a lawn; our crabby flock
of grackles grew too fat on seed to quarrel.
While masons tamed the mud with slate and rock,
She planted birches, hollies and a laurel.
New pickets kept our neighbors in their place.
October stripped her birches down to bone,
as if to warn the weak. Beside new stone
the pygmy flared with plum and amber lace.
As ice storms make old oaks bow, crack and groan,
her gift keeps shimmering with fragile grace.
“. . . come, Kate, come, you must not look so sour.”
―The Taming of the Shrew
At fourteen she loves being critical
and tells me, “Shakespeare uses language well,
but could have been, like, more original…”
I sputter, but rebuttals fail to jell.
All those recycled plots make it appear
to her he was a sneaky plagiarist―
no better than that girl expelled last year―
so “they” should take him off her reading list.
Please, Caitlin, let it go; great writers borrow
like gamblers. Don’t begrudge the Bard a source
that he reshaped into Verona’s sorrow,
Miranda’s tenderness or Lear’s remorse,
but mark him down a point or two
because he tamed a Kate as fierce as you.
A. M. Juster is an award-winning poet, translator, and critic. His most recent books include John Milton's The Book of Elegies, The Elegies of Maximianus, and Sleaze & Slander, and his first book of original poetry, The Secret Language of Women, won the Richard Wilbur Award. Juster's poetry, translations, and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, The New Criterion and many other publications. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.