2021 - Shortlisted
Autumn Manuscripts, the final book by Greek poet Tasos Leivaditis (1922–88), is a suite of vignettes and snapshots, of abbreviated elegies and fleeting thoughts, sometimes no more than an impish observation, sometimes sketching in quick strokes the mythic past or a 20th century apocalypse. Meandering between resignation, delight, absurdity, tenderness, Leivaditis retains a childlike wonder at the world even as he takes his leave of it.
Arresting in its imagery, sure handed of tone, the Manuscripts discover eternity in anything, in urban minutiae, in the flotsam of dreams: a woman at a pier, the stripe on a stationmaster’s hat, father’s lapel marigold. Trakakis’ translation is fresh and mobile, making this a book to return to over and again, to be startled anew by the sincerity of its strangeness, and soothed by its deep, sweet, coming to grips with death.