In Sun's Shadow: Selected Poems


Product Details

Ragged Sky Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.37 inches | 0.53 pounds

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About the Author

Paul Sohar (1936-) drifted as a student refugee from Hungary to the U.S., where he got a BA degree in philosophy and a day job in chemistry while he continued writing and publishing in every genre, including seventeen volumes of translations, among the latest being In Contemporary Tense, Sándor Kányádi's poems (Iniquity Press, 2013) and Silver Pirouettes, György Faludy's poetry (Ragged Sky Press, Princeton, 2017). His own poetry: Homing Poems (Iniquity Press, 2006) and The Wayward Orchard, a Wordrunner Press Prize winner (2011). Other awards: first prize in the 2012 Lincoln Poets Society contest and a second prize from Rhode Island Writers Circle prose contest (2014). Translation prizes: the Irodalmi Jelen Translation Prize (1914), Tóth Árpád Translation Prize and the Janus Pannonius Lifetime Achievement Award (both in 1916, Budapest, Hungary). Magazine credits include Agni, Gargoyle, Kenyon Review, Rattle, Poetry Salzburg Review, Seneca Review, and others.


Personal, philosophical, social, nature-oriented--all of these adjectives characterize this book composed by a mature cosmopolitan poet. The book's opening poem ("The Fences I've Climbed Over") kicks everything off by describing the poet's struggles in life in terms of this metaphor, based on his actual escape from Hungary, his homeland, after its unsuccessful uprising against the brutal Soviet rule. Overcoming that particular obstacle, both literally and figuratively, set Paul Sohar on a journey into his new life that has taken numerous twists and turns along the way. In this book, the poet is a careful observer: "Behind the moist glasses his eyes were hard / bolts shaken out of the complex structure of a city sky," a dreamer: "Dusk clings to the windows, its charcoal / belly rubs the glint off the glass and the long / tentacles smudge up the sky, // ...Why must we know what is yet to come?" and, in the end, a father: "Life is a learning process, as we say, / we keep accumulating loaves of wisdom / for old age, / and I'm in it now but without a crumb / for my mind to nibble on / with you gone without a reason, / and I am still foolish enough to keep on asking why / on my first fathers' Day alone; / an abandoned natural wonder, / overgrown with memories."

As Sohar indicates in his introductory remarks, except for the last section of the book these poems are not necessarily in chronological order, even though they represent a major portion of the poet's adult life. Indeed, In Sun's Shadow resonates a lifetime of experiences. It is a poignant book deftly written and overflowing with remarkable perception and imagination that highlights one of the significant poetic voices of our generation. While Sohar has won international awards for his translations of renowned poets such as Sándor Kányádi, Géza Szőcs, György Faludy, and Zoltán Böszörményi, this latest book of his own poetry reveals Paul Sohar as a major poet in his own right.

Alan Britt, author of Violin Smoke

Towson University