The Popol Vuh


Product Details

$18.00  $16.74
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.5 X 1.0 X 8.4 inches | 0.85 pounds
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About the Author

Michael Bazzett is the author of The Interrogation; You Must Remember This, which received the 2014 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry; Our Lands Are Not So Different; and a chapbook, The Imaginary City. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Ploughshares, The Sun, Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, and Best New Poets. A longtime faculty member at The Blake School, Bazzett has received the Bechtel Prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. He lives in Minneapolis. The Popol Vuh is a Mayan creation myth. Originally shared orally, and written down in the K'iche' language in the sixteenth century, it was copied and translated by the Dominican friar Francisco Ximénez at the beginning of the eighteenth century.


Praise for The Popol Vuh

"For nonscholars, the first test of any translation is simply whether it's pleasurable to read, and Bazzett's limpid, smoothly paced version is more than satisfying on that score. And it's a good thing to be reminded, perhaps especially now, and perhaps especially by a text originating in Guatemala, that "However many nations / live in the world today, / however many countless people, / they all had but one dawn."--New York Times, Best Poetry of 2018

"Mr. Bazzett's translation offers a welcome path into the power of The Popol Vuh as beautiful literature. . . . [his] arrangement and format give the work its own authentic-sounding rhythm and cadence, something that is lost a bit in the recent scholarly editions . . . Mr. Bazzett writes that his intent was to create a more accessible source for students, 'a version of the myth they could disappear into, a verse version that truly sang.' He has succeeded."--Wall Street Journal

"With Bazzett's translation, The Popol Vuh has been reincarnated . . . in a clear, elegant English that allows the reader to visualize the epic adventure of the Hero Twins and the universal story of human creation. It's a boon for readers everywhere." --Rain Taxi

"[Bazzett's] translation of The Popol Vuh is a superb demonstration of literary translation, and the book, as a whole--containing an authentic and transparent translator's introduction, the creation epic itself, and a reader's companion--should be incorporated into every literary translation program."--Literary Review

"A creative and fascinating version that's a pleasure to read: Michael Bazzett has made intriguing choices and invested a huge amount of work. The result is both poetic and--in many cases--moving."--Allen Christenson, Brigham Young University

Praise for The Interrogation

"Michael Bazzett's staggering new collection, The Interrogation, is the record of a poet curious about, and in dialogue with, absolutely everything. If poems are buildings erected to house our wonder, then Bazzett has gifted us a metropolis--one teeming with life and endlessly hospitable to visitors. We are the beneficiaries of such good fortune, this generous making."--Kaveh Akbar

"'You don't expect / our warmth / to be the thing / that obscures us, ' Michael Bazzett writes in a book that explores the limits of identity and definition. His work is a vivid reminder that imagination makes the world strange in order for us to see what we've forgotten or taken for granted. He's a poet who'll take you where no one else can."--Bob Hicok

"The Interrogation reminds me that we always have the choice to revel in the striking strangeness of the world we live in, and that we do not have to accept anyone's life at face value, especially our own. In this daringly disarming world built of wondrous and wondering words, cities have faces, moonlight is poured into aquariums, a man with no mouth speaks, mothers prank call their sons, and fire has many names. To read Michael Bazzett's poems is to reach through the thick veil separating us from the most tender, timeless, and true parts of ourselves that we both dread and cherish."--Tarfia Faizullah

"Michael Bazzett establishes himself as a keen questioner of the eye and ear; a poet fully able to construct and inhabit this world, and those beyond, through lush aural and visual engagement. With the lyrical dexterity and sonic authority of a master craftsman, Bazzett gleans epistemic truths from both natural and preternatural sources and delivers crisp, unforced poems of sheer beauty. Readers will find themselves rapt by Bazzett's audacious and perfect storm of song, symbol, and earnest sight."--Airea D. Matthews

"How special it is to read the record of Michael Bazzett's keen looking and bizarro dreaming. I didn't know I wanted poems about moles being comets or pubic hair performance artists, but I did. I needed this book. I needed to laugh and wonder and wince and gasp. I needed to see all this glorious seeing. You need this book too. You need to walk through Bazzett's funhouse and let these mirrors do their alchemy on you."--Danez Smith

Praise for You Must Remember This

"Michael Bazzett's poems keep pleasantly surprising me with their innocent brutality. I'm not sure I have any way to clearly describe this except to say that it is the sort of heart stopping honesty about humanity we see in work like Donald Barthelme's 'The School' or Toni Cade Bambara's 'The Lesson.' Both of these are short stories, I understand, but I'm okay with that because Bazzett's talky, lyrically twisted narratives seems to ride the same sort of line between story and poem that we see in Borges and chunks of Calvino."--Camille Dungy, The Rumpus

"You Must Remember This is a book of unnerving wonders, one in which improbable events are narrated with strange intimacy, lucidity, and sly wit. But Michael Bazzett is much more than a writer of imaginative narratives. Somewhere beneath the surfaces of these wild and lovely poems, I hear the clashing of individual personality with popular myth. You Must Remember This is an amazing book, one that continues to whisper in my ear after I've put it down."--Kevin Prufer

"Powered by the engine of the tricky dreaming mind, the poems in You Must Remember This are both hauntingly fable-like and delightfully idiosyncratic. Offering spectacular insight into the idea of longing for one's own estranged self, Michael Bazzett's poems are as tragic and unsettling as they are compelling and beautifully precise."--Ada Limón

"A debut collection whose mercurial sensibility and loose-woven free verse place Michael Bazzett somewhere between Robert Hass and Patricia Lockwood. His pages stand out, amid so many other mildly quirky or eccentric first books, because their verse comes closer than most to presenting real people in his imagined world."--Publishers Weekly