As well as being a poet and a translator (of Kafka, Joseph Roth, Brecht and others), Michael Hofmann has been a prolific reviewer and critic - of novels, poems, paintings, plays, movies. Behind the Lines is not a march of essays, however; rather a gathering of occasions, despatches from the review front, covering short distances with maximum velocity of attention. Hofmann's preoccupations as a reader are manifold, whether looking east to the writers of the Other Europe or westwards to the American scene. There are pieces here on such diverse figures as Frank O'Hara, Eugenio Montale, Tadeusz Konwicki, Otto Dix, Wim Wenders, Paul Muldoon and Malcolm Lowry. Rarely is the critic's labour of discrimination dispatched with more brio than in these pages. The virtues of Michael Hofmann's prose are continuous with those of his poetry: utile, candid, omnivorous, high-risk, left-handed. Behind the Lines represents the outtakes of one of the most original prose voices in English today.
Michael Hofmann was born in 1957 in Freiburg, Germany, and came to England in 1961. He has published four volumes of poems and won a Cholmondeley Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for poetry. His translations have won many awards, including the Independent's Foreign Fiction Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the P.E.N./Book of the Month Club Translation Prize. His reviews and criticism are gathered in Behind the Lines (2001).
Literature & literary studies
Faber Non Fiction
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