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Cairo Traffic

In Cairo Traffic, his third book of poems, Lloyd Schwartz asks the Sphinx to explain the riddle "about, you know, / Time and Power and Families-the one you think you / have the answer to. Tell me your answer! / No . . . don’t." The search for answers takes the poet to some surprising, often phantasmagoric places, and back again to the self, to dreams, to home, and even to the nursing home where his mother-sphinxlike herself-becomes the person asking the dark questions and providing some unexpected answers. These extraordinary narratives-funny and frightening, seductive and profoundly moving-explore the intersections of character and language, the places where common speech mysteriously transforms itself into poetry. This book, which includes several translations of contemporary Brazilian poems, confirms Schwartz’s growing reputation as an intensely compelling and original poet.

Read an excerpt.

83 pages | 6-1/8 x 8-1/2 | © 2000

Phoenix Poets


Table of Contents

A True Poem
Friendly Song (by Carlos Drummond de Andrade)
She Forgets
The Two Horses (A Memory)
He Tells His Mother What He’s Working On
From Brazilian Winter (by Rogério Zola Santiago)
The Two Churches (A Dream)
Proverbs from Purgatory
The Dream During My Mother’s Recuperation
No Orpheus
Her Waltz
Nostalgia (The Lake at Night)
Renato’s Dream
Cairo Traffic

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