Meanwhile Take My Hand

Meanwhile Take My Hand
Kirmen Uribe, Translated from the Basque by Elizabeth Macklin

“The poems are a beacon of light and memory, surrounded by conflict, explosion and interruption.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Elizabeth Macklin’s translation is crisp and pure.”—New York Newsday

About the Book

The American debut of Basque writer Kirmen Uribe's "simple, devastating poems"—Bob Holman

Kirmen Uribe has quickly become one of the best-known Basque-language writers--an important contemporary voice from a vital but largely unknown language. Meanwhile Take My Hand presents Uribe's poetry for the first time to American readers in both the original Basque and in poet Elizabeth Macklin's skillful and award-winning translations.

In these lyrics and narratives are the young drug addicts of Spanish coastal fishing towns, the paved-over rivers of newly urbanized medieval cities, the remains of loving relationships, whether entirely uprooted or making do with a companionable silence. The Basque phrase Bitartean heldu eskutik, which became the book's title—Meanwhile Take My Hand--Uribe has said, is "what you say when there's nothing at all you can say."

"[Kirmen Uribe's work is] an urban poetry, made with a special rhythm, direct and piercing. . . ; a poetry that has assimilated the legacy of the Basque oral tradition and come to rest in the twenty-first century: 'reality's bonemarrow / resides in its pieces.'"—The Barcelona Review

Additional Reviews

Unusually wise for a young man.”—Booklist

“Elizabeth Macklin is the first American poet to venture deep into Euskara, that unexplored territory, and she’s found there a contemporary ancient lyricist. Fishermen and modernists, history and eroticism, cuckoos and e-mails, fairy tales and newspaper clippings: Uribe’s olive tree ‘lives two thousand years but tends to remember nothing.’ His poems remind us that poetry tends to remember everything.”—Eliot Weinberger

“Thank you Elizabeth Macklin for bringing to English readers the poetry of Kirmen Uribe written in the oldest European language. Macklin’s English, like Uribe’s Euskara is lyrical with a hard edge, sad and funny, rich in paradoxes. Uribe is a poet of consequence and Macklin has accomplished no small feat.”—Mark Kurlansky, author of The Basque History of the World