Means to Be Lucky
Original poems | Translations from Hebrew
Annie Kantar’s work has appeared in The American Literary Review, Barrow Street, Bennington Review, Birmingham Review, Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, Literary Imagination, Painted Bride Quarterly, Plume Anthology 9, Poetry Daily, Poetry International, Rattle, Smartish Pace, Tikkun, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Her translation from the Hebrew of With This Night, the final collection of poetry that Leah Goldberg published during her lifetime, appeared with University of Texas Press (2011), and was shortlisted for the ALTA Translation Prize. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and Fulbright Scholarship, her literary translation of The Book of Job commissioned by Koren Publishers appeared in 2021.
"The poems of Annie Kantar's Means to Be Lucky bristle with empathy as they dance their soundings and their surroundings. Her "means" mean "touch'; which is light and precise wherever it lands, in the poem or the world. This fresh first collection shows Kantar to be an artful translator of deep-seated desire ---- to celebrate affinity even as she confronts what divides."
- Peter Cole, author of Draw Me After
“Wherever we look,” Annie Kantar tells us in her remarkable first book, Means to Be Lucky, we encounter “the wonder of seeing.” Kantar’s poems, grafted from the root stock of Nelly Sachs, Anna Akhmatova, and Leah Goldberg, are clearly and deeply felt, restless and inventive. A skillful translator, she knows how to welcome us into the singing hive of the lyric world by attending to a “single word” in its “whirring swarm.”
- Michael Collier, author of The Missing Mountain
Correspondences and convergences abound in Annie Kantar’s much-awaited Means to Be Lucky, a collection of enthralling original poems interlaced with inspired translations, a book of innocence and knowledge, grief and praise. By turns a substantive and a predicate, often both at once, Kantar’s “means” is a dance of being and becoming, wherein the desire to do justice to lived experience evokes a molten sense of the ever-changing nature of things. Kantar’s work, in its leaps and ambiguities, echoes a host of other writers, among them Emily Dickinson, Paul Celan, and A.R. Ammons. “It can help to visit/another realm, and not just/the realm of the dead.” Here are poems whose lines are threads tautly suspended between terror and wonder—hovering close to Earth, reflecting the firmament.
- Phillis Levin, author of Mr. Memory & Other Poems
Publication date: 06/01/2023